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  • Writer's pictureDamian Brzeski

Castle in Ostróda - A little-known attraction of Masuria

Did you know that the Ostróda Castle, also known as Osterode Castle, has a rich history dating back to the 14th century? It was probably built on the site of a Prussian settlement, on an important trade route from Masovia to the Baltic Sea. The first wooden defensive seat was built by the Teutonic Knights at the beginning of the 14th century.


Rebuilt after numerous destructions, the castle became the seat of the starosty, a prison and a granary. Burnt down during World War II, it was rebuilt in the 1970s. Learn about its fascinating history and discover what is worth seeing while visiting this little-known attraction of Masuria!



the castle in Ostróda seen from a bird's eye view

History of the Castle in Ostróda


Ostróda Castle, also known as Osterode Castle, has a rich history that dates back to the 14th century. It was probably built on the site of a Prussian settlement located on an important trade route from Masovia to the Baltic Sea.


The first wooden defensive seat was built by the Teutonic Knights at the beginning of the 14th century, and in the years 1324-1330 the settlement received city rights from the great noble Luther von Braunschweig.


In 1332, the first Ostróda prosecutor (pfleger) was recorded, Hermann, who still held office in the old building. In 1341, a commandery was established in Ostróda, and its first superior was Heinrich von Metz.


He initiated the construction of a brick castle, which was continued in 1349 by the next commander, Gunther von Hohenstein.


The work was probably completed in the 1470s or around 1380 at the latest.

The castle was an important commandery center, supervising the Teutonic castles in Nidzica, Działdowo and Olsztynek.


Due to its strategic location, large amounts of weapons were stored there, including six cannons and numerous stone and lead bullets.


In 1381, the castle was burned by Kiejstut's Lithuanian troops, but it was rebuilt by the end of the 14th century.


After the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, the castle briefly fell into Polish hands. The Teutonic Knights regained it shortly afterwards, and the new Grand Master Henry von Plauen convened a great council of the Prussian estates at the castle.


During the Thirteen Years' War in 1454, the castle was again besieged and briefly occupied by the insurgents of the Prussian Confederation. After the secularization of the Teutonic Order in 1525, the castle served as the seat of the starosty, a prison and a granary.


In the 17th century, the castle was reinforced with ramparts and earthen bastions. However, in 1788, a gunpowder explosion and fire destroyed the eastern wing.


The remaining parts of the castle were rebuilt, removing the top floors. During World War II, the castle was completely burned down. Reconstruction began only in the 1970s.


The courtyard of the castle in Ostróda

Architecture of the Castle in Ostróda


The castle in Ostróda is a perfect example of medieval defensive architecture. Built on a square plan with dimensions of approximately 45x45 meters, the castle had four wings, each approximately 14 meters wide.


Originally, it was surrounded by a moat fed by a branch of the Drwęca River and defensive walls that separated it from the city. Cloisters were built around the courtyard, providing internal communication.


On the ground floor of the castle there were utility rooms, while the upper floors were intended for the apartments of knights-monks, the castle chapel and granary rooms.


The eastern wing housed an armory where various types of weapons were stored. The castle was well prepared for defense and equipped with firearms already at the end of the 14th century.


During the great fire in 1788, the castle was seriously damaged, especially the eastern wing, which was demolished. Only the surviving parts of the castle were rebuilt, with the top floors being liquidated.


In the 19th century, the castle underwent further modernization, adapting it to administrative and residential needs.


During World War II, the castle was completely burned down, and its reconstruction began only in the 1970s. Currently, the castle serves as a museum where you can see exhibitions related to its history and architecture.


What to see while at the castle


Visiting the Ostróda Castle is a journey back in time that allows you to discover many interesting places and exhibits. Currently, the castle serves as a museum, where you can see exhibitions devoted to its rich history and the role it played in the region.


Here are some top attractions worth seeing during your visit:


  1. Castle Courtyard - The heart of the castle, surrounded by cloisters that provided internal communication. It was here that the most important events and ceremonies took place. The courtyard is free to the public and offers stunning views of the castle's architecture.

  2. Castle Chapel - Located in the southern wing, it was a place of prayer for knights-monks. Currently, you can admire preserved architectural details here, including ceramic portals and Gothic windows.

  3. Residential and Utility Rooms - The castle was not only a fortress, but also a home for its inhabitants. On the ground floor there were utility rooms, such as kitchens and warehouses, and above there were living and guest rooms. The museum presents reconstructions of these interiors, showing everyday life in the castle.

  4. Armory - In the eastern wing there was an armory where weapons and armor were stored. In the museum you can see exhibitions devoted to medieval weapons, including replicas of cannons and firearms used by the Teutonic Knights.

  5. Sanitary Tower (Gdanisko) - A unique structure of the castle, connected to the main building by a covered pier. Although the original tower did not survive, its replica and descriptions allow us to understand what an important role it played in the castle's defense system.


Visiting the castle is an excellent opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the region. The museum also organizes numerous events and temporary exhibitions that make the visit even more attractive.


Reconstruction of the Teutonic castle in Ostróda

Practical Information for Tourists


The castle in Ostróda, now a museum, offers many attractions and amenities for tourists.


Below you will find the most important information needed to plan your visit:


Opening hours


  • Summer season (July-August): Monday-Friday 9:00-17:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-16:00

  • Transitional season (May-June, September-October): Monday-Friday 9:00-16:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-16:00

  • Winter season (November-April): Monday-Friday 9:00-16:00, Saturday 10:00-16:00.


Tickets


  • Normal: PLN 10

  • Reduced price: PLN 8

  • Thursdays: free tours of exhibitions.


Location


  • The castle is located at ul. Mickiewicza 22 in Ostróda. It is well connected to other parts of the city, making it easy to access both by car and public transport. You can get here easily by Taxi Ostróda .


Attractions Around the Castle and Events


  • There are numerous tourist attractions in the vicinity of the castle, such as Lake Drwęckie, which offers water sports opportunities, and picturesque walking and cycling routes.

  • It is also worth visiting nearby cafes and restaurants that serve local specialties

  • The museum in Ostróda organizes a variety of events, including temporary exhibitions, educational workshops and historical reconstructions. It is worth following the museum's website to stay up to date with current events.


Visiting the castle in Ostróda is not only a journey through history, but also an opportunity to spend time in beautiful surroundings and take advantage of the numerous tourist attractions of the region.


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