Malbork Castle, the "Magnificent Heap of Bricks"Malbork Castle, the "Magnificent Heap of Bricks"

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    This is a world renown castle Katherine, but very interesting visit however...
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      Very good description Katherine!
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      Yes, but no plan...
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      Only 1 pic...
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      Yes!
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      Yes!
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Malbork Castle, (North Poland)is sometimes called by us "the biggest heap of bricks inthe world" was built in the times of the Canterbury Tales, when the jousting tradition was in bloom.

My experience, Explo description: 

The Teutons - living already more like knights than the monks kept 3 world known falconries. Henry of Lancaster (Duke of Derby, alter Henry IV) received a falcon from here. The place is mentionned in the Prologues to the Canterbury Tales...

"....A knight there was, and he a worthy man,

.......
Full oft the table's roster he'd begun

Above all nations' knights in Prussia.

In Latvia raided he, and Russia,

No christened man so oft of his degree.

(source: http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/gchaucer/bl-gchau-can-genp...)

Prussia was here... We call it now Pomerania. But historically it is Prussia (from the Baltic Prussian tribes who lived here before the Teutons came).

So ...for a while - after the Middle East Crusaders ceased - this was the center of European Chivalry.

And what is amazing - although somuch destroyed during the last months of war - was cerefully rebuilt and restored. This was one of the reasons for becoming a UNESCO site.

Who has not seen the might of the castle it's worth noting that it covers the area of 21 hectars (52 acres) and is 6 times bigger than the Wawel Hill in Kraków, and 4 times bigger than the enclosed spcae of the Windsor Castle...

The castle was built between the 13th and the 15th cent. first as one of the monastic castles "en route" and fortifying the land seizure. Then in the beginning of the 14th century it was turned into the Main House - called sometimes (today) the Capital of the Teutonic State.
The Teutons appeared here after the cease of the Middle East Crusades. They were one of the three monastic orders (besides the Knights Templar, and the Knights Hospitaller) which rose into power at the times of the Crusades. After retreating from Jerusalem- they decided to seek for a land, they could establish a safe existence. There was such a land - Prussia. It was a constant problem to Poland.
So to shorten the history - A Polish Duke invited the Teutons to help him with the Baltic Tribes - for a certain donation and payment... They came - seized the land and... stayed...
And started to build their existence. Malbork castle is one of such remnants.

To learn the whole history - you can visit the Castle Museum internet site :
http://www.zamek.malbork.pl/en/hist...

Visit the Castle Museum exhibitions - especially the Amber collection. It is Amber Through the Centuries - showing the beauty of this "Golden Teardrop of the Sun". At present - till April 2010 - part of the exhibition can be seen at the Hunterian Museum Amber Exhibition
http://www.hunterian.gla.ac.uk/amber/

Entering the Great Refectory (situated in teh western wing of the Middle Castle) - recall the Canterbury Tales... The Great Refectory was the biggest feast room in the medieval Europe. And Geoffrey Chaucer mentioning Prussia meant THIS room in particular...

From the top of the tower there is a unique view around the Lowlands. This is the Vistula River Delta... but that’s another story...

This year is the 6ooth anniversary of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwelath’s great victory over the Teutons at the Tannenberg battlefield. In July there will be the Siege of Malbork - reconstruction of this historical event.

My personal recommendations: 

A suggestion : visit the Castle in the evening.
It can be done from the half of September till the end of April. We call it a night sightseeing.
In summer there also is a kind of performance (only in Polish) called Light and Sound. The contact info about both night sightseeing and the performance is at the Ticket desk.
And of course do not forget - every July we have a Siege of Malbork (reconstruction of this historical event) !!!

Else, you can ask Katherine (tour guide) to make the visit with you! (see contact)!

How getting there: 

The address is : Muzeum Zamkowe w Malborku, ul. Starościńska 1,
82-200 Malbork.

To get there one can travel by train - which is the easiest way.
The nearest town (big one with an airport) is Gdańsk (about an hour by train).
To get the train to Malbork - buy a ticket - for a regular (osobowy) train or a fast (pospieszny). It usually costs between 12 and 14 ZLOTY.

Malbork is hard to miss while on the train - as the castle is seen from it. But just in case : the train has to cross two rivers - one is Vistula and the second is Nogat.

A tip to eat: 

There are three restaurants nearby.
Zamkowa in the neighbouring hotel,
Piwniczka - in the castle cellars,
and ... the Gothic Cafe in the eastern wing of the middle castle.
The Gothic has its own internet site :
http://www.gothic.com.pl/en/
Visiting the Gothic Cafe will bring the most pleasant experience and will last in memories...
The chef is a graduate of the New York Culinary Academy and he is an expert.
Expert in cooking and in tempting into the magic of tastes :-)

A tip to sleep: 

In Malbork there are severa hotels :
* Zamkowy Hotel - just next to the main castle gate :
Hotel ZAMEK *** ul. Starościńska 14, tel. +48 55 272 33 67, 272 27 38
Next there are (in the castle’s near and farther vicinities) :

Hotel STARY MALBORK ***
ul. 17-Marca 26-27
tel. +48 55 647 24 00 ;reception : +48 55 647 24 12
stary [dot] malbork [at] interia [dot] pl
hotel [at] hotelstarymalbork [dot] com [dot] pl

Hotel GROT ***
ul. Kościuszki 22D
tel. +48 55 646 96 60, +48 55 601 707 654
recepcja [at] grothotel [dot] pl
www.grothotel.pl

Hotel DEDAL**
ul. Gen. de Gaulle’a 5
tel. +48 55 272 68 50,
+48 55 272 31 37,
+48 55 647 90 80,
hotel [dot] dedal [at] wam [dot] net [dot] pl

Hotel ZBYSZKO
ul. Kościuszki 43
tel. +48 55 272 33 94, reception +48 55 272 26 40
www.hotel.malbork.pl
hotel [dot] zbyszko [at] wp [dot] pl

Useful information: 
Open hours: 

Opening hours are :
Summer season - 15th April till 15th Sept.
Exhibitions open 9.00 - 19.00
Ticket desk 8.30 - 19.30 (the castle closes at 20:00)

After season - 1st till 14th April and 16th till 30th Sept.
Exhibitions 10.00 - 17.00
Tickets 9.30 - 18.30

Winter - 1st October till 31st March
Exhibitions 10.00 - 15.00
Tickets 9.30 - 15.30

Visit duration: 

Depending on the needs :-) the usual guided tour lasta about three hours, but I usually give the tourists some time - to wonder around, take some photos, go to eat... Enjoy the place and time there...

Entry fees: 

the prices are now (as on the 6th of February 35,- ZLOTY per person)
the castle site says they have new prices for the guided tour :

Individual tickets for visitors with English guide

Adults - PLN 41,00
Reduced rate (schoolchildren & students) - PLN 31,00

also family tickets are available :

The family ticket can be used by 1 or 2 adults accompanied with children (7 - 16years of age)

The family ticket to the Castle ( 9 am. - 3.30 pm. )

* 3 person family - PLN 103,00
* 4 person family - PLN 134,00
* 5 person family - PLN 165,00
* 6 person family - PLN 196,00

The tickets includes the guide fee. The guide waits for visitors in the assembly place at 11 am , 1:30 pm , 3:30 pm

http://www.zamek.malbork.pl/en/aktu...

Contact: 

http://www.zamek.malbork.pl/en/cenn...
The address is :
Muzeum Zamkowe w Malborku,
ul. Starościńska 1,
82-200 Malbork.

In case of any problem with communication contact me :
k [dot] czaykowska [at] yahoo [dot] com
or by phone : +48 608 383536

Access security: 

It is a difficult place for disabled persons - many steps, and cobblestones, high thresholds.
Appropriate footwera should be worn (no high heels)