Teutonic stronghold in Ostróda, Poland
Ostróda is a town in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in Poland. It lies in the west of the historic Masuria region on the River Drwęca, and on the banks of Lake Drwęckie (read more: Drwęca Lake in Ostróda). The first Teutonic Order stronghold in the area comes from 1270. This was a wooden structure, located on a small island in between the waters of the Lake Drwęckie and the River Drwęca. The castle was hit by a fire during a Lithuanian raid in 1381. It had a rectangular ground plan, a court in its middle and a moat surrounding the monument. Its front wing containing the gateway was, just like two other side wings, the commander's domicile.
Soon afterwards a new brick castle was built. During the wars of the Teutonic Order, this was a strategic site. The access point from the east of the castle was by a bridge, which led to a granite gate. The castle was surrounded by the village where served means for keeping storage, brewery and a forge. Getting ready for the new war with the Kingdom of Poland, the castle was surrounded by a moat filled with water. The castle was taken by the Poles after the Battle of Grunwald - July 14, 1410. For two months, Ostróda castle remained in the hands of Duke of Masovia, Janusz Mazowiecki (read article Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia in Ciechanów) but in September 1410 the castle returned to the Teutonic Knights.
The castle became greatly diminished in the next centuries. In the great fire of Ostróda in 1788, the great explosion of gunpowder damaged the castle. The castle was rebuilt, but it did not regain its previous shape.
From 21st February to 1st April 1807 the castle hosted the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. There are a number of art objects documenting the event, e.g. the painting by the Marie Nicolas Ponce-Camus 'Napoleon promises his grace to Ostróda burgers. March 1807' and silver medal "Napoleon a Osterode", made by the French graver Bertrand Andrieu.
The castle was restored in the 19th century and was a seat for the local administration office and court of justice. During World War II the castle was burned down by the Soviet Army and remained in the state of preserved ruin for nearly thirty years. The reconstruction of the castle was commenced in 1974 and continued until the 1990s. Currently, the castle houses a gallery, library and a museum.
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