Home Around Gdansk Gdansk castle and other near Gdansk – Malbork Castle

Gdansk castle and other near Gdansk – Malbork Castle

by Maciek

Malbork castle or Gdansk castle?

Gdansk castle

Before coming to Gdansk, you may have heard about Gdansk castle. There used to be a castle in Gdansk, indeed, but it doesn’t exist anymore. It was built shortly after Teutonic Knights took over the city in 1308. What is now ofter associated with Gdansk castle is the other one – located by Nogat river in Malbork.

Gdansk castle was much smaller than Malbork Castle, but it was enough to keep control over the city and ships entering the harbour. Gdansk castle was demolished in the XVth century by Gdansk citizens, shortly after Teutonic Knight surrendered and left the town. Now the only remains of the castle in Gdansk are the Swan Tower and the brick wall by the Motlawa river, in Wartka Street, but we have ideas of what it looked like. Historians are pretty sure that it was painted in the background of the XV century painting “The ship of the church” by an unknown author. The painting is missed since WWII, but the copy may be seen in the Arthus court.

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As the remains of the Gdansk castle do not stand out of the architecture of Gdansk, even many citizens do not realize, that there was a castle in Gdansk. So if you want to visit this place, look for the Swan Tower or simply go to the opposite side of Motlawa river – to the Amber Sky Wheel. The remains of the castle are clearly visible from here.

Castle in Gdansk
The Swan Tower and small brick wall to the right are what’s left of Gdansk castle

Malbork Castle near Gdansk

So probably what you mistook for Gdansk Castle, is Teutonic Knights’ medieval Malbork Castle, 60 kilometres south of Gdansk. It is the biggest and the most popular castle in Poland, and one of the two castles near Gdansk, with the other one being a castle in Gniew.

If you come to Gdansk by train from the south of Poland, look to the left just after you pass Malbork. Teutonic Knight’s medieval Malbork Castle, the gem of medieval architecture will be clearly visible there. Brick walls and towers are very photogenic from the other side of Nogat river, as they reflect in the water.

Malbork castle near Gdansk
Malbork castle near Gdansk

History of Malbork castle

Invited to Poland in 1228, Teutonic Knights rose in power in northern Poland during the so-called “Christianization” of pagan tribes. In 1280, they started to build a Malbork Castle, which after a couple of phases was finally finished in the XVth century. The Castle in Malbork became a capital city of Teutonic Knights’ lands and the headquarters of the grandmasters. Poland took over the castle in 1457, and until 1772 it served as a king’s residence. Since then Malbork castle was being devastated, and although it underwent reconstructions before the Second World War, the original shape was never restored.

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During the liberation of Malbork in 1945, the castle was part of the resistance line of German soldiers. It resulted in about 50% destruction, and the authorities considered demolishing the remains. Instead, the process of reconstruction started, which lasts until today. In 1997 Malbork Castle was placed on UNESCO World Heritage List.

Malbork castle
Malbork castle

Siege of Malbork castle

Just after the Battle of Grunwald, the Malbork castle was besieged by Polish king Wladyslaw Jagiello, but it didn’t surrender. Since 2000, sieges take place every year, in the middle of July. 3 days event is full of performances and presentations, not only for kids. Tickets are usually sold out before the siege, so make sure you buy yours early enough.

Malbork Castle Museum

Since 1961 Malbork Castle museum took over the stronghold and the castle is available to visit. The museum offers a visit to most of the castle sites, including the High Castle, the Middle Castle, and the Grand Masters’ Palace. During the visit pay attention to bricks – it may be sometimes clear which are original and which were produced after WWII to restore the castle. If you are lucky, you’ll notice the dog’s hands stamped on the medieval bricks,

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Practical Information

Getting from Gdansk to Malbork castle

Gdansk to Malbork castle by train

There are frequent trains from Gdansk. The trip should take around 40 minutes, the ticket price starts from 13,5 PLN depending on the train. From the railway station, you need to walk for about 15 minutes to the castle.

Gdansk to Malbork castle by car

If you choose to get there by car, be aware that it might be difficult to find a car park close to Malbork Castle, and you may need to pay for it. But be careful, as private parking slots next to the Malbork Castle are very expensive, and you may pay over 50 PLN for parking during visiting the castle. So look for municipal parking areas, where the rates start from 1 PLN/hour and are charged only Monday-Friday from 8.00 to 15.00.

Malbork Castle museum opening hours

1 May-30 September9.00-19.00*
1 October – 30 April10.00-15.00

*there is also a Light&Sound performance in the evening Saturday-Wednesday (in Polish)

Opening hours may be different on national holidays. Please consult the museum’s website.

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Malbork castle tickets price

Regular ticket to Malbork Castle Museum costs 47 PLN in the summer season and 45 PLN in the winter season. A guide or audio guide is included in the ticket price.

Light&Sound – 22 PLN

Guides

In July and August, guided tours start at

  • 11.00 – in German
  • 11.30 – in English
  • 12. 00 – in Russian

You should reserve about 3-4 hours for the visit.

Night tours

The museum offers night tours in the summer period, at 20.45. Tours in foreign languages are available in July and August on Fridays. Make sure about the availability before you set off.

The ticket price is 40 PLN for a foreign language guide. You should purchase tickets before 20.45.

In the winter period to book night tours, you should contact the museum.

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