Malbork - the world's largest brick castle
Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region (Vistula delta). There is located an impressive Medieval castle. This biggest brick castle in the world and the largest castle of the Gothic period is one of Europe's most imposing fortresses - "the largest pile of bricks north to Alps".
The castle in Malbork was built by the Teutonic Order after the conquest of Old Prussia. The work was started in 1274 on the southeastern bank of the river Nogat. The fortress was named Castle of Mary - Marienburg in German. In 1309 the castle and the city became the capital city of Teutonic Order's state. High Castle surrounded by moats and walls and became the office of Grand Masters and the order's highest officials. Middle Castle become house of lower rank brothers and guests. There was also a Great Refectory infirmary for older and ill brothers. In 14th and 15th century was build third segment - Lower Castle - armory, granary, storehouse, as well as St. Lawrence chapel. All building were surrounded by walls, towers and moats and connected with defensive walls of the city.
In 1457, Marienburg (Malbork) was occupied by Polish army, and then in 1466 became part of Poland. In Prussian times (after first Poland partition) Malbork’s castle was significantly redevelop. In 1945 during World War II combat in the area, more than half the castle and 80% of city was destroyed. At the conclusion of the war, the city of Marienburg (Malbork) and castle became again a part of Poland. The castle has been mostly reconstructed.
The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress and, on its completion in 15th century, was the world's largest brick castle. Today Malbork Castle remains the largest brick building in Europe. UNESCO designated the "Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork" and the Malbork Castle Museum a World Heritage Site in 1997. Malbork Castle is also one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments (Pomnik historii).
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