Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, Malbork
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

Malbork

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The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is a seminal building that remains deeply rooted in collective consciousness due to its connections with momentous events of the European Middle Ages and with the people who shaped them. From the beginning of the 14th century, Malbork served as the seat of the Grand Masters and as the capital of the State of the Teutonic Order in Prussia - a country under the rule of the German monastic knights which not only spread the Christian faith among the pagan Prussians and Lithuanians, but also waged wars against the Christian Kingdom of Poland. The fact that the castle was subsequently used for political and propaganda purposes only adds to its significance

Built on the eastern bank of the river Nogat, this complex designed for both residential and defensive purposes remains an outstanding example of a brick castle complex designed in the Gothic style, remaining the most accurate representation of the independent style typical of the buildings erected by the Teutonic Knights - a style which developed in isolation from the trends which prevailed in Western Europe and in the Middle East at the time. The monumental complex, featuring a distinctive tripartite layout, consists of the High Castle, the Middle Castle and the Castle Grounds. The Grand Masters' Palace and the Grand Refectory, both forming part of the Middle Castle, remain outstanding works of Gothic architecture, notable due to their exceptional artistic quality. The High Castle, which originally served as the monastery of the main convent, retains the form of a quadrangular Teutonic fortified structure. Its constituent parts include, among others, the chapel (the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) as well as Dansker - a tower serving both defensive and sanitary purposes, its form setting a pattern that was subsequently followed by many other structures of its kind that were built in the State of the Teutonic Order. The Castle Grounds, featuring clearly distinguishable lines of defensive walls and moats, also incorporate many significant buildings, such as the Karwan armoury and a number of defensive towers, including the Maślankowa Tower and the Bridge Tower.

The conservation and restoration works performed at the Malbork castle which began in the 19th century and have continued to this day had a significant influence on the conservation theory and practice in this part of the continent and have also contributed towards the recreation of crafts and artistic techniques dating back to the Middle Ages as well as to the broadening of the knowledge in the field of scientific research. The post-war continuity in terms of conservation practice is notable due to the fact that the reconstruction of the castle was performed on the basis of the working documentation from the late 19th century and the early 20th century, allowing the architectural elements dating back to those times to be reconstructed accordingly. It is worth emphasising that this artistically significant site has been the focus of interest of historians and researchers into the Middle Ages as early as in the 18th century.

The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork was included on the World Heritage List in 1997 during the 21st session of the World Heritage Committee in Naples (dec. CONF 208 VIII.C).

Entry made on the basis of criteria II, III and IV:

Criterion (II):

Malbork Castle is an architectural work of unique character. Many of the methods used by its builders in handling technical and artistic problems greatly influenced not only subsequent castles of the Teutonic Order, but also other Gothic buildings in a wide region of north-eastern Europe. The castle also provides perfect evidence of the evolution of modern philosophy and practice in the field of restoration and conservation. It is a historic monument to conservation itself, both in its social aspect and as a scientific and artistic discipline.

Criterion (III):

Malbork Castle, a symbol of power and cultural tradition, is the most important monument to the monastic state of the Teutonic Order, a unique phenomenon in the history of Western civilization. The Castle is at the same time the major material manifestation of the Crusades in eastern Europe, the compulsory conversion to Christianity of the Baltic peoples, and the colonization of their tribal territories, which played a vital role in the history of Europe.

Criterion (IV):

Malbork Castle is an outstanding example of the castles of the Teutonic Order, which evolved on the frontiers of medieval western Europe. It is a unique, perfectly planned architectural creation, with no equivalent in Gothic architecture. It was built utilizing a rich repertoire of medieval construction methods; these were applied on an exceptionally large scale and resulted in making a magnificent seat for the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

The property is accessible to visitors.

Compiled on the basis of materials of the National Heritage Board of Poland 30-11-2015

General information

  • Type: cultural
  • Chronology: XIII - XX w.
  • Form of protection:
  • Address: Starościńska 1, Malbork
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district malborski, commune Malbork (gm. miejska)
  • Copyright owner: National Heritage Board of Poland

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