best view in original size
Nogat river on the foreground
The Castle in Malbork is the largest castle in the world by area. It was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg (Mary's Castle). The town which grew around it was also named Marienburg.
The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress, and on its completion in 1406 was the world's largest brick Gothic castle. UNESCO designated the "Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork" and its Museum as the World Heritage Site in December 1997. It is one of two World Heritage Sites in the region with origins in the Teutonic Order. The other is the "Medieval Town of Toruń", founded in 1231 as the site of the castle Thorn (Toruń).
Malbork Castle was founded by the Teutonic Order after the conquest of Old Prussia. Its main purpose was to strengthen their own control of the area following the Order's 1274 suppression of the Great Prussian Uprising of the Baltic tribes. No contemporary documents survive relating to its construction, so instead the castle's phases have been worked out through the study of architecture and the Order's administrative records and later histories. The work lasted until around 1300, under the auspices of Commander Heinrich von Wilnowe. The castle is located on the southeastern bank of the river Nogat. It was named Marienburg after Mary, patron saint of the religious Order. The Order had been created in Acre (present-day Israel). When this last stronghold of the western Crusades fell to Muslim Arabs, the Order moved its headquarters to Venice before arriving in Poland.
Malbork became more important in the aftermath of the Teutonic Knights' conquest of Gdańsk (Danzig) and Pomerania in 1308. The Order's administrative centre was moved to Malbork from Elbl¹g (Elbing). The Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Siegfried von Feuchtwangen, who arrived in Malbork from Venice, undertook the next phase of the fortress' construction. In 1309, in the wake of the papal persecution of the Knights Templar and the Teutonic takeover of Danzig, Feuchtwangen relocated his headquarters to the Prussian part of the Order's monastic state. He chose the site of Marienburg conveniently located on the Nogat in the Vistula Delta. As with most cities of the time, the new centre was dependent on water for transportation.
The castle was expanded several times to house the growing number of Knights. Soon, it became the largest fortified Gothic building in Europe, on an nearly 52-acre site. The castle has several subdivisions and numerous layers of defensive walls. It consists of three separate castles - the High, Middle and Lower Castles, separated by multiple dry moats and towers. The castle once housed approximately 3,000 "brothers in arms". The outermost castle walls enclose 52 acres (21 ha), four times the acreage of the enclosed space of Windsor Castle. The developed part of the property designated as a World Heritage Site is 18.0380 ha.
view from the other place