On my first solo trip ever, I chose to visit Poland.
While planning a trip, I follow a process. So there I was trying to work out what and where to visit, see and do. Besides Auschwitz and Birkenau, two things caught my eye – the Elblag Canal and the Malbork Castle. Due to logistical issues and my own interest is all things historic and architectural, there I was with a return train ticket and a day trip marked out to Malbork from Gdansk.
It is not an UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing! Located along the Nogat River, it is the largest Gothic structure built in brick. It was the capital of the Teutonic Order and at a later date it belonged to the Polish monarchy. Completely destroyed during the second world war, it has been painstakingly reconstructed and restored to its original glory. It stands tall and what is not to be in awe of it!
Tall brick walls, dry moats, passageways for soldiers and towers form the fortification of the castle. The impressive castle and its various segments are made of brick, metal, stone and wood. A fine piece of engineering, the building is supported on various types of vaults, with sufficient lighting, arrangement, floor heating during winter, water supply and toilet arrangements.
Th outer Lower Castle that contained the necessary household and military units itself acted like a circular protective shield for the important and main areas of the castle, namely the Middle Castle, the High Castle and the Grand Master’s Palace.
The huge centre courtyard of the Middle Castle is itself awe inspiring. In the Middle Castle, you can visit the Amber Museum and Weapons Museum. You can also see the grand metal statues of the four Grand Masters.
The Great Refectory in the Middle Castle is truly grand! It is the biggest hall in the castle that hosted feasts for visiting dignitaries. The vault is supported on three slender pillars!
Walk on to the drawbridge that connects the Middle Castle with the High Castle and do not miss the cannon balls that were used as a counter balance for the drawbridge. Visit the Galleries, Halls, Convent Kitchen, the Chapter House, the Dignitaries Chambers and the Gdanisko Tower. What used to be the dormitories of the monks are now museums for sculptures and relics.
The western wing of the Middle Castle is the Grand Master’s Palace and boasts of the best architectural splendour in the entire Malbork Castle with cross vaults, floral motifs, imitation of hanging curtains and vault cantilevers.
The moats and the Lower Castle are pretty and a walkabout is interesting.
A 20 minute short walk from the train station brings you to the Ticket office from where you pick up your audio guides and walk through several gates and a moat to reach the courtyard of the Middle Castle where the audio guide tour starts.
It took me three-and-a-half hours to see the place with the help of the audio guide.
I walked back to the small cute town for lunch before heading back to the train station and that lunch is another story for another day 🙂
To know more about the Malbork Castle and visit it, see: http://www.zamek.malbork.pl/en