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Teutonic castle ruins - Zabytek.pl

Papowo Biskupie

woj. kujawsko-pomorskie, pow. chełmiński, gm. Papowo Biskupie-gmina wiejska

The castle, erected by the Teutonic Order, is one of the earliest examples of a structure of its kind designed on a regular, quadrangular plan, making it a historical monument the value of which transcends the region in which it is located.


In years 1284-1421, the castle remained the residence of the commander (known as Komtur in German) of the Teutonic Order Later on, when the local commandry was abolished, the castle served as the seat of a low-level Teutonic official known as the procurator. The castle itself, designed on a square plan measuring 40.3 metres on each side, was erected in the final quarter of the 13th century in a number of successive stages. The compact silhouette of the castle consists of four two-storey wings with an attic and small turrets at the corners. The attic level served as a covered fighting platform and came equipped with arrowslits. The castle was surrounded by a low peripheral wall. The main wing of the castle - the oldest part of the entire complex - was located on the northern side thereof. The gatehouse leading into the castle was positioned on the axis of the wing and was most likely preceded by a brick gorge. This wing of the castle contained the various utility rooms and facilities on the ground-floor level, a chapel positioned on the first-floor level in the eastern section of the building as well as the chapter house (the monastic assembly hall) in its western section. Both of these grand, representational chambers features ribbed groin vaults. The first-floor level rooms in the other wings - the dormitory, the commander’s residence and the refectory - likewise came equipped with vaulted ceilings. The courtyard, measuring 18 metres across in each direction, was surrounded by a two-storey cloister. A well was positioned in the middle of the courtyard. Extensive castle grounds surrounded by a separate defensive wall adjoined the castle to the north and the east, the buildings located there being of a mostly utilitarian nature; these included the living quarters for the servants as well as typical utility buildings: granaries, stables, cowsheds, barns, a carriage house, a smithy as well as other workshops. The entire castle complex was surrounded by a moat filled with water from the nearby stream; in addition, the castle proper was separated from the surrounding grounds by a dry moat, its banks lined with masonry. In 1410, following the Battle of Grunwald, the castle was briefly taken over by the Polish forces. In 1454, during the early days of the war between Poland and the Teutonic Order (1454-1466), the castle was overrun by the forces loyal to the Prussian Confederation, which opposed the rule of the Teutonic Knights. In 1458, mercenaries loyal to the Order seized the castle for a brief period. However, during that same year, the castle was overrun by the Polish forces and burned to the ground, with substantial portions of the surviving masonry being demolished at the express order of King Casimir IV Jagiellon. After the war was over, what remained of the castle became royal property and the seat of the local alderman (starosta). In 1505, King Alexander Jagiellon donated the castle to the bishops of Chełmno, in whose hands it would remain until the 1st Partition of Poland in 1772. Between the 16th and the 19th century, the castle descended into a state of complete ruin, its walls successively taken down to obtain construction materials.


The impressive ruins are located in the middle of the village, on a small hill situated between the Papowskie lake to the west and a second, nameless and gradually drying lake located east of the castle. The best-preserved section of the castle is its northern wing with the chapter house and chapel. Of the two remaining wings - the western and the eastern one - only the outer peripheral walls remain, reaching up to the second-storey level. The outline of the former southern wing is barely visible above the surface. The unique feature of the castle is that it was built almost exclusively of erratic stones and blocks. The gatehouse, remnants of the vaulted ceilings as well as window openings of the chapter house and chapel are made of brick.

The monument is open to visitors.

compiled by Lech Łbik, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 28-11-2014.


  • Antkowiak W., Lamparski P., Zamki i strażnice krzyżackie ziemi chełmińskiej, Toruń 2000, pp. 73-75.
  • Bieszk J., Zamki państwa krzyżackiego w Polsce, Warsaw 2010, pp. 41-42.
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J., Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Kajzer L. (ed.), Warsaw 2010, pp. 369-370.
  • Pabian A., Rozynkowski W., Zamki krzyżackie na ziemi chełmińskiej, Toruń 1997, pp. 73-79.

Category: castle

Building material:  kamienne

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_04_BK.310834, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_04_BK.234302