– 14th century Gothic castle standing on the shores of the Drwęca river. The monument is a former wooden fortress, now made of bricks (since 1393). The castle has a rectangular ground plan and a moat. Its front wing containing the gateway was, just like two other side wings, the commander’s domicile. The castle was taken by the Poles after the Battle of Grunwald. It was reconstructed in 1642. In the year 1788, a whole storey was destroyed by a fire and it was only in the 19th century, that the building was restored. However, in 1945, another fire destroyed it almost completely (parts of the walls and the dungeon remained). In the seventies of the 20th century, again reconstruction works were introduced. Currently, the castle serves as a library, a museum and a restaurant. Olsztynek
(Olsztyn district) – Commander Gunther von Hohenstein introduced the construction works of this castle in 1350. They came to an end by 1366. The monument has a square ground plan, three of its walls are formed by houses, whereas one side is a defensive wall containing the gateway and the tower. In the court’s middle, there was a well. The court was paved and protected by a house in the north. In the 19th century, the castle was rearranged in order to serve as a school building. After a break, it regained this function by 1974. Formerly, the castle had a two storeyed dungeon, which was partly buried in the 19th century. Its remains were serving as a restaurant in the nineties of the 20th century. Currently, it is used for cultural purposes. Pasłęk
(Elbląg district) – Teutonic castle. Its today’s northern wing was built in 1320. The building has a rectangular ground plan of 40x51 m. Its dungeon and its cellar were extraordinarily vast, reaching even beyond the city walls. In the forties of the 15th century, the castle’s eastern and western wings were reconstructed. Besides, the castle’s core was added two towers. The Prussians channelled the monument into a hospital, but it was also a school building and a prison. In the year 1972, the authorities eventually decided to renovate the castle after its destruction during World War II and make it an administration building. Furthermore, it also is a library and a cultural centre. Szymbark
(Iława district) – 9 km away from Iława, on the shores of lake Szymborski, a castle made of bricks arises. The monument standing on steaning groundwork once had a rectangular ground plan and 12 towers. It was formerly the property of the Chapter of Pomesania, who sold it to Albrecht von Hohenzollern after the secularisation of Prussia in the year 1527. The latter, however, sold it to a noble dynasty. In the year 1699, it became the property of the Prussian dynasty Finck von Finckenstein, who was its last proprietor until 1945. The building was Gothic in its core, yet it was restored during the years to come (elements of renaissance and baroque). What is more, its southern part was given a neo-Gothic shape in the 19th century. A fire destroyed the monument in 1946. Although not reconstructed, the castle keeps on enchanting its visitors thanks to its gigantic dimensions - it was the biggest castle after Malbork. The open-air museum in Olsztynek
- Built in 1910, it is one of the oldest open-air museums in Poland. It is situated on the beautiful outskirts of Olsztynek, among ponds, small forests, fields and meadows. Numerous animals live here. You will be able to watch horses (especially the Poilsh race Konik) cows, goats, sheep, rabbits and various birds.
But, of course, the exhibits are worth seeing as well. In addition to the architecture (50 exhibits), the museum disposes of 8000 objects representing everyday life, of 2000 artisan exhibits and of more than 6000 books.
The houses presented come from Warmia, Masuria, Powiśle, Barcja, Sambia and Lithuania Minor. Not only houses are presented, but also workshops, barns, religious buildings, one watermill, four windmills, one oil mill, a forge, a weaving mill and a pottery. This architectural plurality makes this open-air museum a nationwide place of interest. Ancient, mysterious manors and palaces
The historical landscape of Western Masuria is mainly associated with Prussian residencies. Many of them are still waiting to be restored, still there are numerous sites which already have been renovated. It is the successful embedding of these properties into the nature which makes this region’s extraordinary character.
Standing on the shores of lakes or at the outskirts of vast forests, some of them are real gems. Luckily, we are able to visit them, as many of them currently are part of the tourist infrastructure. Take a look at the most outstanding amongst them:
- Hotel Anders (Ostróda community an district), close to the road and the line section connecting Ostróda and Olsztyn, surrounded by forests, the former summer residence is standing in the village of Stare Jabłonki on the shores of lake Szeląg Mały. It is the biggest hotel in Western Masuria.
- Bieniasze Manor (Miłakowo community, Ostróda district) – surrounded by forests and meadows, this estate is situated about 8 km away from Miłakowo. A reconstruction of the former 18th century country house has led to the current shape of this today’s pension.
- Wojciechy Palace (Miłakowo community, Ostróda district) Standing aside, yet not far from Bieniasze village and on the shores of Pasłęka river. Restored former country house of Andreas Stuhrmann. Currently, pension.
- Karnity Castle (Miłomłyn community, Ostróda district) Neo-Gothic castle in Karnity. Surrounded by forests, 13 km away from Miłomłyn, formerly part of a vast estate comprising five other properties. Currently, „Zamek Karnity Hotel”.
- Sople Manor, (Małdyty community, Ostróda district) – close to route E7 (Warszawa - Gdańsk), in the village of Sople, close to Małdyty. Former 19th century country house. Georg Jacob Steenke, the designer of the Elbląg Canal, used to live here during the construction work of the canal. Currently, pension.
- Kraplewo Manor (Ostróda community and district) – 19th century manor, restored in the 20th century gaining its L-shape. It has a wooden porch in the front. Currently, pension and consulting-agency.
- Klonowo Palace (Dąbrówno community, Ostróda district) – Built in 1831-1873, the estate was restored during the years to come. The village of Klonowo is situated within the Wzgórza Dylewskie Landscape Preserving Park. The mansion itself is standing on a small hill giving a view over its impressing park. In the northern part of the property, there are also remains of the former complex, a forge and a barn. Currently, it is an agrotourism pension.
- Bałoszyce Palace (Susz community, Iława district) - Bałoszyce Palace is the only former residence still in use. It was erected in the 18th century as a replica of Babelsberg Palace in Potsdam (Germany). 1985, due to a reconstruction, it gained its current, neo-Gothic shape. This hotel is a very attractive place to stay.
- Dawidy Palace (gm. Pasłęk, powiat elbląski) (Pasłęk community, Elbląg district) – formerly part of a large property with a park. Built in 1730-31, the estate’s architecture has elements of Dutch baroque. It is standing 8 km away from Pasłęk. Due to its location near a forest, it was used as a hunting lodge. The palace had numerous proprietors, such as Achatius Borck, the Drzewicki family and the Dohna dynasty. Currently, it is a small pension, which is sometimes visited by its former landlord, Fürst Alexander zu Dohna-Schlobitten. Its new owners organise concerts there.