Teutonic & Gothic Castles trail
The Teutonic Castles trail bears similarities to the Loire Valley castles trail in France – as it is a chain of strongholds built in the middle ages.
The order of Teutonic Knights came to Poland at the invitation of Polish royalty in the 13th century, to help convert the heathen Prussians to Christianity and stifle their hostility. Instead, order took control over a large part of Northern Poland and began building their strongholds. In total, they built 120 such strongholds, a maximum of one day’s horse ride apart (30 km), owing to a principle that the knights were forbidden from spending the night outside a Teuton castle. The short distance that divided each stronghold also enabled them to communicate by signals.
The most impressive fortress was constructed in Malbork, the capital of the order since 1309 (when the capital moved from Venice), which is considered to be one of the most valuable examples of medieval defensive architecture in entire Europe. The glory days of the Order came to an abrupt end when they were defeated by Polish forces at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410.
DAY 1 – arrival in Gdańsk and overnight.
DAY 2 – sightseeing tour of the Tricity: Gdańsk, Sopot, Gdynia. Overnight in Gdańsk.
DAY 3 – departure for Bytów – situated in the heart of the Kaszuby region. Visit to the Gothic Teutonic Knights’ castle. Continue to Malbork via Wdzydze Kiszewskie – an open air-museum of the Kaszuby region. Stop in Pelplin – a Cistercian Abbey with magnificent 14th century Gothic cathedral. Overnight in Malbork.
DAY 4 – sightseeing of the largest brick Gothic castle in Europe, the seat of the Grand Master of the der, on the UNESCO World Heritage. Drive to Olsztyn. En route stop in Sztum – a 14th century castle, a summer residence of the Grand Master. Visit to Kwidzyn Castle. Overnight in Olsztyn.
DAY 5 – walking tour of Olsztyn. Visit to Olsztyn Castle. In the years 1516-1521 the castle steward was the astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus. Departure for Kadyny via Lidzbark Warmiński – the principal castle of the Warmian Bishops. Stop in Frombork – to visit the fortified cathedral. It is here that Copernicus, completed his work “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium”. Overnight in Kadyny.
DAY 6 – morning at leisure. Transfer to Gdańsk airport. Departure.
Gdańsk – Gdynia – Sopot
Tri-city tour (Gdańsk-Sopot-Gdynia) Main tour of Gdańsk en route Old Town, Town Hall,famous Artus Court, Długi Targ, one of the biggest church in Europe-St. Mary’s Church and the Old Crane at the Motława River bank. Then drive to the Gates of Gdańsk Shipyard where the “Solidarity” Trade Union movement was founded in 1980. Stop in Sopot– picturesque resort with a beautiful promenade pier. Then drive to Gdynia, commercial heart of Tri-city.
Gothic Teutonic Knights’ castle from the 14th century situated in the heart of the Kaszuby region.
A Cistercian Abbey with magnificent 14th century Gothic cathedral, y and Gutenberg Bible from 15th century – one of the few original versions in existence.
A one-hour drive south of Gdańsk takes you to Malbork (Marienburg) – the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, dating back to the 14th century, an outstanding example of medieval defensive construction.
The vast redbrick fortification which dominates the Vistula riverbank has the been the backdrop for many a medieval film epic. It has a wealth of treasures, including Teutonic armour and weaponry and an amber room. Admire the sinister Gothic traps, which the Teutonic brothers invented to rid themselves of inconvenient members and guests.
There is the possibility to extend the excursion to the whole day and visit other Teutonic castles on request.
A 14th century castle, a summer residence of the Grand Master. It was built to defend Malbork from the South.
Kwidzyn Castle – this ancient Prussian hill fort was overpowered by the Teutons in the 13th century. The sanitary tower, known as a ‘dansker’, distinguishes the castle from all other Gothic castles. It is considered the biggest in Europe. “Danskers” or simply toilets, were a very important part of Teutonic architecture. During wars they were the final bastion.
Olsztyn, built on the hills surrounding the Łyna River, is often known as the gateway to the Masurian lake district, a playground for sailing enthusiasts, anglers and holidaymakers. The town itself boasts eleven lakes within its boundaries.
Visit to Olsztyn Castle – the castle built in the 14th century, belonged to Warmia Bishops. In the years 1516-1521 the castle steward was the astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus, who created an astrological chart which is still on one of the walls.
Lidzbark Warmiński & Frombork
Lidzbark Warmiński is a true jewel among Polish monuments. The well-preserved Gothic castle from the 14th century was a former seat of the Warmia bishops. In the years 1503-1510 Nicolaus Copernicus lived here and planned his work “Commentariolus”
Another place where Copernicus lived and worked for many years is the medieval stronghold of Frombork. Among the oldest buildings are the monumental brick cathedral surrounded by defensive walls and the Old Bishops’ Palace (14th century). The Cathedral Hill offers a sweeping view over the Vistula Lagoon and Sand-Bar. It is here that Copernicus, completed his work “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium”.