Teutonic & gothic castles trail

Gdańsk (2) – Bytów – Malbork (1) – Sztum – Kwidzyń – Olsztyn (1) – Lidzbark Warmiński – Kadyny (1)

3 teutonic castles

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 Christianit 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 horseride 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 Tri-city: 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 from the 14th century. Continue to Malbork via Wdzydze Kiszewskie – an open air-museum of the Kaszuby region. Stop in Pelplin – a Cistercian Abbey with magnificient 14th century Gothic cathedral, y and Gutenberg Bible from 15th century – one of the few original versions in existence. 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 ive to Olsztyn. En route stop in Sztum – a 14th century castle, a summer residence of the Grand Master. It was built to defend Malbork from the South. Visit to Kwidzyń 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. Overnight in Olsztyn.

DAY 5 – walking tour of Olsztyn. 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 Nicolas Copernicus, who created an astrological chart which is still on one of the walls. Departure for Kadyny via Lidzbark Warmiński – the principal castle of the Warmian Bishops. In the years 1503-1510 Nicolas Copernicus lived here and planned his work “Comentariolus”. 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.

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