Olsztyn Castle

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Olsztyn Castle
Olsztyn – castle.jpg
Castle of Warmian Bishops in Olsztyn
LocationOlsztyn, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland
Coordinates53°46′N 20°28′E / 53.767°N 20.467°E / 53.767; 20.467Coordinates: 53°46′N 20°28′E / 53.767°N 20.467°E / 53.767; 20.467
Architectural style(s)Brick Gothic
Olsztyn Castle is located in Poland
Olsztyn Castle
Location of the Castle of Warmian Bishops in Olsztyn in Poland

The Olsztyn Castle (Polish: Zamek w Olsztynie), officially known as the Warmian Bishops' Castle, is a Brick Gothic castle located in the heart of Olsztyn, in northern Poland. Built in the 14th century, it served as the administrative seat for the Bishops of Warmia alongside Lidzbark Castle.[1] The most well-known administrator caretaker was Nicolaus Copernicus, who resided here between 1516 and 1521. The largest expository room is the refectory with a diamond vault built around 1520. Currently, the castle houses the Museum of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.[2]


The castle seen from a distance, 2016

The castle was erected between 1346 and 1353 and is made up of one wing to the north-east of the courtyard. It was initially surrounded by a line of fortifications and a ditch which lead to the Łyna River with a bascule bridge. The south-east wing of the castle was built in the 15th century. The 40-meter tower dating back to the 14th century was placed in the eastern corner of the courtyard and reconstructed in the early 16th century, giving the castle a circular look in a square formation. During the reconstruction of the tower, the castle's fortifications were raised to 12 meters in height. This made the castle a major bastion located on the borders of Olsztyn, securing its entrance.[3]

The castle belonged to the Bishops of Warmia, which until 1454 was protected by the Teutonic Order. This made the building and Olsztyn a strategic place during the Polish-Teutonic Wars. In 1410, during the Battle of Grunwald, the castle had surrendered itself to the Polish Army without a battle, however, in 1414 the castle was seized after a siege lasting a few days. During the Thirteen Years' War (1454–66), the castle was being captured multiple times by both powers. The Teutonic Order had endangered the town of Olsztyn once more, and for the last time in 1521. In the years of 1516 to 1521, the administrator of the castle was Nicolaus Copernicus, who protected the castle from a Teutonic siege. In the sixteenth, the castle was also used as the seat for two Warmian Bishops, which at the same time were two writers: Johannes Dantiscus (Father of Polish Diplomacy); and Marcin Kromer who wrote numerous hymns in Latin, as well as scientific documents and literature in Polish.[4]

Detail of the structure

Over time, the castle's militaristic importance diminished and its role for the housing of the Bishops of Warmia became less favourable.[5] In 1758, a direct entrance from Olsztyn was built, and a palace wing was built; the expansion meant that many of the fortifications were deconstructed. In 1779, Prince-Bishop Ignacy Krasicki stayed at the castle. After the seeding of Warmia in 1772, the castle was therefore controlled by the state.[6] In 1845, the bridge connecting the castle to the town was replaced with a levee, the ditch was removed. Between 1901 and 1911, the castle underwent various renovations; this included the change in floor levels, and arched windows in the cloister. The castle became the Museum of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in 1946; apart from various exhibitions the museum also hosts the Olsztyn Artistic Summer (Olsztyńskie Lato Artystyczne).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Olsztyn Castle". Zamki Polskie. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Main Page of the Osztyn Museum". Muzeum Olsztyn. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  3. ^ Salm, Leszek Kajzer ; Stanis·law Ko·lodziejski ; Jan (2002). Leksykon zamków w Polsce (1st. ed.). Warszawa: Arkady. ISBN 83-213-4158-6.
  4. ^ Wolska, Małgorzata Jackiewicz-Garniec, Mirosław Garniec ; wprow. Marian Arszyński, Janusz Trupinda ; malowane i rysowane rekonstrukcje zamków Bożena Januszewska, Katarzyna (2006). Zamki państwa krzyżackiego w dawnych Prusach : Powiśle, Warmia, Mazury (1st. ed.). Olsztyn: Studio Wydawnicze ARTA Mirosłw Groniec. ISBN 83-912840-4-2.
  5. ^ "Olsztyn Zamek". Zabytki Mazury. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  6. ^ Torbus, Tomasz (1998). Die Konventsburgen im Deutschordensland Preußen. München: Oldenbourg. ISBN 3-486-56358-0.CS1 maint: ignored ISBN errors (link)
  7. ^ Muszyński], Bohdan Guerquin ; [redaktor naukowy Stefan (1984). Zamki w Polsce (2nd., popr. ed.). Warszawa: Arkady. ISBN 83-213-3239-0.

External links[edit]