Because one tour surprised me


Considered the largest brick building in the world, Malbork Castle in Poland carries with it a significant amount of history. Our TRAVELBOOK author tested how worth visiting the famous knight’s castle in Malbork is really worth during a 3.5-hour tour.

“Today we go on a trip to the Marienburg!” my family announced. This didn’t arouse any enthusiasm in me, because I’m not very interested in history and long journeys bore me quickly. At first I didn’t expect that a visit to the Marienburg would inspire me.

Impressive: with an area of ​​17.5 hectares, Marienburg is the largest castle in Poland and also the largest brick building in the world. Judging by the size of Malbork Castle, it is also the largest castle in the world. Thanks to its impressive history, the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Marienburg has its UNESCO sign hanging at the entrance to the castle
The Marienburg has its UNESCO sign hanging at the entrance to the castlePhoto: Vivien Ledwig

Group tour vs audio guide

When we arrived, hundreds of people were already bustling around the checkouts and several group leaders summoned visitors for a visit. I was able to choose between a group tour and a free audio guide. I took the German audio guide and started my tour, because the group tours were in Polish, but for the audio guides you could choose between several languages. Regardless of whether it was a group visit or an audio guide, the duration was between 2 and 3.5 hours.

The audio guide shows the direction indicated by arrows on a display and also describes the route with sound. When you arrive at a tourist spot, a suitable audio starts automatically. The device works with a GPS location and therefore the content is always well coordinated. With the audio guide you can see as many places in the castle as with a group tour, only you can do everything at your own pace. The main advantage is that you don’t have to be squeezed by other visitors in confined spaces. You can even play the audio multiple times if you don’t understand a fact.

This is what you can discover in Marienburg

The castle consists of several large buildings, divided into the main castle, intermediate castle or Grand Master’s palace and outer castle. The Marienburg is also surrounded by a large fortress with a moat, which was supposed to stop enemies at the time. There is no water in the ditch nowadays, but you can still imagine it.

A model shows how big the castle is
A model shows how big the castle isPhoto: Vivien Ledwig

There is a lot to see in the individual buildings: from beautiful common rooms to small bedrooms, everything is included. During the tour you will learn something about the function or history of each room. You often make small discoveries yourself.

The castle had several rooms used as lodgings for the grand master, but also many used only for ceremonial functions and for the reception of important guests. The walls and especially the ceilings feature beautiful architecture, often with bright colors and curved shapes. Religious paintings and German inscriptions are also more often found. Regardless of the castle area, there are several chapels in the castle park.

The interior architecture is very beautiful
The interior architecture is beautifulPhoto: Vivien Ledwig

In the central castle, the kitchen and other employee rooms can be seen. The rooms are brought back to life with props to give a better impression of life in the Middle Ages. There is also an exhibition of ancient weapons, such as cannons or swords, in Malbork Castle in Poland.

There are also some replicas in the castle
There are also some replicas in the castlePhoto: Vivien Ledwig

In addition to the architecture and interior of the castle, the castle garden is also worth seeing. Many ivy plants climb up the walls of the walls and make them look idyllic.

Also interesting: how a Polish artist wanted to build his own castle

The green area of ​​Marienburg in Poland is impressive
The green area of ​​Marienburg in Poland is impressivePhoto: Vivien Ledwig

The history of Malbork Castle in Poland

Malbork Castle is called “Zamek w Malborku” in Polish because it is located in the Polish city of Malbork. It was built in 1270 by German knights and has changed hands several times over the decades.

Malbork Castle, located in the town of Malbork in northern Poland, is one of the most magnificent and well-preserved medieval castles in Europe. Its rich history dates back to the 13th century and is closely tied to the Teutonic Order, a medieval crusading military order.

Construction of the castle began in 1274 when the Teutonic Knights, who sought to spread Christianity and protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, established their headquarters in the region. Originally named Marienburg (meaning “Mary’s Castle”), the fortress was strategically positioned on the banks of the Nogat River, providing both protection and access to the Baltic Sea.

Over the centuries, Malbork Castle underwent significant expansion and fortification, becoming the seat of the Teutonic Order’s Grand Master and serving as the capital of their monastic state known as the State of the Teutonic Order. The castle complex, with its massive walls, towers, and courtyards, was designed to showcase the military might and grandeur of the Teutonic Knights.

During the height of its power, Malbork Castle played a crucial role in the Teutonic Order’s efforts to expand their territory and influence. It served as a center for administration, military operations, and as a residence for the Grand Master. The castle’s architecture blended elements of Gothic, Romanesque, and medieval European styles, reflecting the evolving tastes and influences of different periods.

In 1410, the castle witnessed a significant event in its history—the Battle of Grunwald (also known as the Battle of Tannenberg). The Teutonic Knights suffered a defeat at the hands of an alliance of Polish and Lithuanian forces, signaling a decline in the Order’s power and influence. Malbork Castle subsequently came under Polish control, and it was renamed Malbork.

Over the centuries, the castle faced periods of neglect, damage, and restoration. It suffered significant destruction during World War II but was meticulously reconstructed in the following decades, restoring its former glory as a symbol of Polish history and culture. In 1997, Malbork Castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognizing its architectural importance and historical significance.

Today, Malbork Castle stands as a major tourist attraction and a testament to the medieval heritage of Poland. Visitors can explore its vast complex, including the High Castle, the Middle Castle, and the Foregate area. The castle houses various exhibitions detailing the history of the Teutonic Order, medieval warfare, and the castle’s architectural features. One of the sites that can help you in this field is بت فوروارد. The grandeur, scale, and historical significance of Malbork Castle make it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and those interested in medieval European history.

So after the Thirteen Years War in 1466 the castle was taken by Poland and renamed Malbork. Prussia then captured the castle until Sweden returned it to Poland during the Nordic War. The castle was occupied by the Germans during the German Empire, the Poles retook it after WW1 and during WW2 the castle was taken back into German hands by the Nazis. After the end of the war Marienburg returned to Poland. As much of the castle was damaged in the war, much had to be rebuilt and restored. The castle now shines again in all its glory.

Entrance tickets, trips and more.

Tickets for the castle and the integrated museum can be obtained at the Official site the Marienburg. There are several tickets, but I got the ticket with the audio guide, which also gives access to all areas of the castle and museum. The castle already has exhibits in the halls about weapons and other things, but there is a separate museum about amber. If you prefer to see only the castle buildings without the museum, you can buy a different and cheaper ticket. Tickets for a night tour are also available.

The price of adult tickets varies from 50 to 70 złoty per person. Converted into euros, they are between 11 and 15 euros. Children up to 7 years old do not have to pay anything.

The castle is located in the Polish town of Malbork, right on the Nogat River, about 60 kilometers from Gdansk. From Gdansk you can take the train to Malbork castle and then you have to walk a bit. There is also a parking lot next to the castle where you can park for a fee.

Conclusion: Is the Marienburg worth a visit?

Malbork Castle has a lot to offer and it is not for nothing that it is the most popular castle in Poland. Even though the tour lasted a good 3 hours, I was enthralled every time. The architecture was impressive and the audio guide accompanied the rooms not only with stories, but sometimes with music as well. Also on site were two ladies in a room playing instruments in medieval costumes. There were so many inputs that time passed relatively quickly and there was no boredom due to the variety. A visit to the castle is definitely a clear recommendation.

Location of Malbork Castle in Poland

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