Where Teutonic Knights once roamed
Poland Day 20. The Teutonic Order played a major part in Poland’s history and not far from Gdańsk lies what was the most critical part of their network – also the world’s largest brick castle.
I didn’t have set timeframes in mind but figured earlier was better. Got a fast(ish) train which delivered me to the town of Malbork around 9am. Unless you’re looking out the other direction, the castle and its expanse of red brick is impossible to miss as you’re passing. Fifteen minutes walk later and I was buying my ticket and audio guide.
Red brick has been a frequent sight on my trip – apparently it started to be used around the 12th century in places where there weren’t natural stone resources – and Brick Gothic is a particular architectural style.
The castle here at Malbork is one such example, built in the 1300s by the Teutonic Knights. I won’t blah on about their history, only to summarise that they were formed from the Holy Land crusades and the monk-warriors (bit of an oxymoron) themselves originated from Germany. They started forging their way through Europe to take their fight to the pagans and once in Poland, progressively conquered parts of the country and built a network of 120 castles along the way.
Fun fact: the castles were spaced out no more than one day’s ride away, about 30km. I’d seen the remnants of the fortress at Toruń, one of the first constructed by the knights. Malbork Castle came to be the biggest of them all.
Following are a few snaps from my walkabout as I juggled main camera with phone camera with audio guide. It’s a wonder I didn’t drop and break something.
It amounted to a half-day trip though I got a slower train back.
Distance walked: 11.33km