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Coat of arms of Ryn
Coat of arms
Ryn is located in Poland
Coordinates: 53°56′16″N 21°32′53″E / 53.93778°N 21.54806°E / 53.93778; 21.54806
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Warmian-Masurian
County Giżycko
Gmina Ryn
 • Total 4.09 km2 (1.58 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Total 3,006
 • Density 730/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Postal code 11-520
Website http://www.miastoryn.pl/
This article is about a town in Poland. For information on the Star Wars race of the same name, see the list of Star Wars races.

Ryn [rɨn] (German: Rhein) is a town in Poland located 19 km southwest of Giżycko, in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Until the reorganization of 1999 it had been assigned to Suwałki Voivodeship. It had a population of 3,062 inhabitants as of December 31, 2004.

Ryn is located between Lake Ryn (German: Rheiner See) and Lake Ołów (German Ollofsee). Among the notable landmarks of the town are a former Ordensburg castle of the Teutonic Knights (erected ca. 1337) and a 19th-century Dutch windmill. Below the castle in the center of the town, a subterranean channel connects the Matussek pond, a shoaled bay of Lake Ołów, with Lake Ryn and the pond of a mill built by the Teutonic Knights.


Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode of the Teutonic Knights built a fortress on the site of a former Old Prussian fortification in 1337. A settlement near the castle was first mentioned in documents in 1405. It was known as Ryne after the Rhine River, and was included within the komturship of Balga. Ryne later became known in Standard German as Rhein.

The Komtur Haus zur Ryne was established in 1393, after which Rhein was the seat of a Komtur first until 1422; the Komturship was re-established in 1468, following the Second Peace of Toruń. The first Komtur of Rhein was Friedrich von Wallenrode (de), brother of Teutonic Grand Master Konrad von Wallenrode, while the best-known one was Rudolf von Tippelskirch, who was also involved in the colonisation of East Prussia. After the secularisation of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights as the Duchy of Prussia in 1525, an "Amtshauptmann" office was established in Rhein, which remained in use until 1775.

The castle in Ryn

During Tatar attacks in eastern Prussia, the village was burned down on 7 February 1657, and many inhabitants were kidnapped. Between 1709–1711, Rhein suffered from plague. Despite these setbacks, King Frederick William I of Prussia granted the town its town charter in 1723. The decisive reason for this was the role of Rhein as an administration center for a larger rural area.

During the Napoleonic Wars, soldiers took up quarters in Rhein. The development of the town largely stagnated during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was not until 1902 that Rhein received a railroad connection, though it was only a one-track link of a light railway with a narrow gauge. Additionally, the castle was bought and converted into a prison in 1853, and suffered a fire in 1881, after which it was not fully rebuilt until thirty years later.

Rhein was administered by Landkreis Lötzen within East Prussia from 1818–1945. The town became part of the German Empire after the unification of Germany by Prussia in 1871. After World War II the region was placed under Polish administration by the Potsdam Agreement under territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union. Most Germans fled or were expelled and replaced with Poles expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.


1782: 1000
1885: 2285
1925: 2084
2005: 3037

Notable residents[edit]

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Coordinates: 53°56′N 21°33′E / 53.933°N 21.550°E / 53.933; 21.550