Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region, with 38,478 inhabitants. Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship. It is the capital of Malbork County. The Teutonic Order was founded around the year 1190 in Palestine to crusade against the Muslims and pagans. In the early 14th century the Teutonic Knights moved their capital from Venice to Malbork on the Nogat River, which is now in northern Poland. The most significant trace of the their presence in the town is the imposing red brick castle from 1274 on the river bank, and it is the largest Gothic fortress in Europe.Malbork is visited especially for its tremendous castle that once consisted of three parts: the outer one, which is ruined and not open for visits, the Middle Castle and the Upper Castle. The sightseeing starts from the Middle Castle, the later and larger segment with three wings around the yard. There is also a Palace of the Grand Masters, a magnificent monument of Gothic architecture decorated with slim columns. You should not miss the beautiful interiors of the building, including the Winter and Summer Chambers, one of the dormitories and the Great Refectory, with their delicate adornments and impressive vaults. Many chambers hold exhibitions including a huge display of amber and a collection of militaria. In 1997 the castle became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today’s Malbork has a population of 40,000, and it is a local administrative centre, a key local transport connection and a popular tourist destination. Apart from the imposing castle, you have a number of other historical sights to enjoy: the Gothic town hall, the parish church from the 15th/16th century and the 16th century Jerusalem Hospital. In the vicinity of Malbork (in Stogi) you can find an unusual but scarcely known historical sight – a Mennonite cemetery. Mennonites were Dutch Protestants who came to the area in the 16th century to escape the Spanish rulers of the Netherlands, and while here they helped to construct many drainage channels.
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