Christmas Market in Gdansk, 5-23 December

   

Christmas Market in Gdansk, 5-23 December

the first day will be full of attractions as the Market will be visited by Santa Claus with his suite

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 Christmas Market in Gdansk850

Venetian carousel with horses, synthetic ice rink, exhibition of traditional Christmas trees from around the wrold, fairy tale land without feud, artistic decorations and Christmas Eve's treats - these are only few of all the attractions of Chrtstmas Market in Gdansk.

 

Children will also appreciate the presence of Comet and Rudolph - a pair of Santa Claus's reindeers.

The first day will be full of attractions as the Market will be visited by Santa Claus with his suite. Christmas trees from Finland, France, Spain, Lithuania, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, decorated by their consulates' representatives, will brighten in Santa Claus's presence.

At the fair you will find all kinds of Christmas gifts : handmade hats, scarves, toys, blankets and cushions, gift bags, decorations, candles, angels and Christmas tree ornaments, decorative ceramics, fancy leather, wood and wicker goods . Gourmets will surely be pleased as festive cakes, pretzels, fruit covered with chocolate, roasted chestnuts and other delicious dishes will be served. When freezing you will be able to warm yourself with a mug of hot chocolate, mulled wine and red-hot braziers.

Fair will be open every day from 11:00 to 19:00, from December 5th until 23rd!
Info: POT Warszawa, Foto: bozonarodzeniowy.gda.pl

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Castle in Gniew

   

Gniew - The castle of the Teutonic Knights

in 1282 the Gniew Land was invaded by the Teutonic knights. It was their first possession on the left bank of the Vistula river and an important anchorage in their quest eastwards. The castle was built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries as a seat for a convent and commander. Under the rule of the Teutonic Order the castle was the main political and economic centre for the commandery, the basic organisational unit in the Teutonic state.

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Although the town council enjoyed much independence, the Order's authorities took great care to rule their subjects. The strategic location, which enabled the knights to oversee the water and land trails, determined exceptional military character of the convent's house and fortifications of the town and castle.

 

The economic function of that space was reflected by numerous storehouses, stables, manors and breweries situated within the town, the port, near the castle and in the town's suburbs.

In the years when Gniew belonged to the Kingdom of Poland (1466-1772), the castle was a seat of a local governor known as starosta. The administrative district of Gniew was owned by the families of Radziwiłł, Zamojski and Lubomirski. In 1667 the Polish king, John III Sobieski became the governor of Gniew; he was succeeded in the office by his wife, Maria Kazimiera.

Following the first partition of Poland in 1772, Gniew and Pomorze Gdańskie were incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia. The Prussian government commenced a broad-scale demolition or, at best, reconstruction, of most of the former Teutonic castles. Such was also the fate of Gniew castle. It was first intended for military barracks but since it was completely unsuitable for that purpose, in the early 19th century it was converted into granary. Another adaptation of the castle buildings took place in the 1850s when it became a high-security Prussian prison for hardened criminals.

During the adaptation, which coincided with the Romanticism evoking interest in history, the following works were accomplished: the vaulting of the chapel was reconstructed and the original lancet arches of several windows in the southern wall were restored, which greatly improved the view of the castle seen from that side. Two corner towers were also rebuilt. The Foundation of Gniew Castle

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Castle in Kwidzyn

   

Kwidzyn - The castle of the Teutonic Knights

apart from Teutonic castles, the monastic state of the German German House of St. Mary in Jerusalem held other castles, associated with the legal and material status of the ecclesiastical dioceses. The division of lands between the Order and the bishops and cathedral chapters took place in 1243.

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There were two separate castles in Kwidzyn - one which belonged to the bishop (called in German Altschloesschen) and the other one, owned by the chapter, which, together with the cathedral, formed a fortified compound.

 

The castle of the cathedral chapter was located in the north-west part of the town. It was built in the Gothic style, of brick laid on a stone base. The construction works went on from 1300 to 1330. The plan of the castle was typical of Teutonic strongholds and represented the type of a convent house, which consisted of a regular quadrangle with an inner court. The castle wings were fortified with square towers raised in each corner.

The state rooms were located on the first floor of the east wing and included an infirmary (a hospital) and, most probably, the apartment of the provost (the head of the cathedral chapter). The same wing held the chapter's archives and treasury. The south wing, which was the longest and the broadest, housed the chapter room and the summer refectory as well as the library and the rooms for scholars from the cathedral school. The west wing contained the dormitory (bedroom) and was connected with the gardrobe tower. The north wing held a small chapel and the winter refectory. The ground floor of the north wing still contains a medieval stove, which served for heating the castle.

The ground floor also comprised a number of service rooms, such as a store for firewood, food store rooms, kitchens, bakeries, and pantries. All the farm buildings which served the castle, such as stables and barns, together with a brewery and a garden, lay in the area in front of the castle, known as the forecastle.

In the second half of the 14th century the finishing works in the castle were completed and the cathedral was joined with the east wing of the castle. The castle builders continued work on the gardrobe and well towers as well as on a monumental belfry, which connected the cathedral and the castle.

The castle of the Pomesania cathedral chapter in Kwidzyn has the most impressive gardrobe tower among all Teutonic and bishop's castles in the former state of the Teutonic Knights. The gardrobe tower was raised on a square plan at a distance of 54 m from the west wing of the castle. It is connected with the castle by a roofed arcaded bridge, which stands on five massive pillars. In the past, there was a stream which was flowing under the tower, possibly a branch river of the Vistula or the Stary Nogat rivers.
Following the first partition of Poland (1772), the south and west wings of the castle housed the Higher Ducal and Land Court of Justice. The refurbishment works which had been completed then changed the layout of the rooms and corridors. In 1798 the Prussian authorities undertook an unfortunate decision to pull down the south and east wings of the castle. The brick obtained from the demolition was used to construct a new seat for the Court of Justice of the so-called West Prussian Regency.
Branch of the Castle Museum in Malbork

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Castle Malbork

   

Malbork - The castle of the Teutonic Knights

is a huge, medieval defence compound, raised between the 13th and 15th centuries by the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem. The construction works were undertaken in 1278 by delineating and building a wall around a convent castle, designed on a rectangular plan 52 meters by 61 meters externally.

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Malbork 850

In each corner stood a tower, characteristic for Teutonic castles. In the final stage of the construction the towers were extended over the wall-walks, thus emphasising the ornate roof tops of the castle wings. In addition, they enabled castle defenders to shoot from all the angles of the fortress. In 1280 the convent was moved to Malbork.

 

First brother knights lived in the oldest North Wing. The West Wing, which housed the Refectory and the Commander's Chamber, was raised later. In the late 13th century the monastic castle was surrounded with a fortified wall.

Thus, spacious interwall areas were created, which served for walks and as land to build storehouses and create a graveyard for monastic brothers. At around the same time a gardrobe tower, called the gdanisko tower, was built. It could be accessed from the castle by a roofed walkway.

The tower was intended to serve as an ultimate defence site, but it also contained a latrine and its main function was to guard the access to the castle leading from the town over the bridges, and through the Bridge Towers and the Shoemaker Tower. A similar though a smaller tower, known as the Priest Tower, was situated on the opposite side of the castle compound, in the south-east corner of the fortified wall. Both towers, by flanking the fortified monastery, were an additional component of the defence system.

By the power of the second Toruń Peace Treaty signed in 1466, Malbork was ceded to the Polish kings and became the capitol of the Malbork Province. In 1772, following the first partition of Poland, Malbork and most of Royal Prussia were subjected to the Kingdom of Prussia.

As early as the 16th century, the castle of Malbork was perceived as an important monument of history and a landmark to be visited by travellers. The interest in the castle did not vane in the 17th century, when a scientific analysis of the formal architectural features of Teutonic strongholds was conducted, focusing mainly on the castle in Malbork. In the 18th century the castle was a popular destination for admirers of 'antiquities' and as romanticism and historicism began to prevail, the castle became an object of a number of studies on its history and architecture.

The first scientific inventory of the castle was completed. Many protests were issued against the demolition of the castle, which was undertaken at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, it was stopped in 1804. After 1815 broad-scale restoration works commenced under supervision of the most outstanding Prussian architects.

Owing to their interdisciplinary efforts the Palace of the Grand Masters was restored. The works carried out at Malbork were at that time the largest experimental field for conservation methods in Europe. 
The Castle Museum of Malbork

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Castle in Sztum

   

Sztum - The castle of the Teutonic Knights

in 1236 the fort was captured by the Teutonic Knights. Until the end of the Thirteen Years' War (1453-1466) Sztum Castle was a seat of the local Teutonic Order official. The earlier earth and timber fortifications were replaced in the early 14th century by a stone and brick stronghold.

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Perfectly situated and well fortified, the castle in Sztum served as a military base for crusaders staging wars against pagan Lithuania. In 1377 Archduke Albrecht Habsburg stayed at the castle, leaving his family colour as a gift of gratitude to the Sztum administrative district. He also commissioned to build a monumental castle tower, since then known as the Albrecht Tower.

 

During the Great War between the Teutonic Order and the Kingdom of Poland and Duchy of Lithuania (1409-1411), Sztum was occupied by the Polish army marching from Grunwald (Tannenberg) towards Malbork. After the unsuccessful siege of the capital of the Teutonic state, the Polish corps which stationed at Sztum Castle for three weeks defended the fortress against attacks staged by Teutonic Knights. Eventually, they obeyed the order of the Polish king, Władysław Jagiełło and surrendered the castle.

Since 1416, following some extension, the castle became a summer residence of the Grand Master of the Order. In the same year, a settlement located on a nearby river islet was granted a town's charter by the Order's Grand Master, Michael Kuchmaister von Stemberg.

During the Thirteen Years' War, the Polish troops unsuccessfully besieged the castle for six weeks. It was not until the 6th of January 1468 that the Teutonic Knights left the castle. On the same day, Ścibor Bażyński, whose family would later lease the castle and the town until 1503, was appointed head of the Sztum district.

sztum rk300Among his successors in the office was the bishop Lucas Watzenrode, Nicolas Copernicus's uncle, the family of the Cems, well remembered in the history of Pomerania (1530-1636) and the family of Bielińskis, who governed the land from 1724 to 1772.
During the Swedish wars in the 17th century, the castle and the town of Sztum were badly damaged due to military actions and frequent marches of troops.

After the battle of Trzcian, lost by the Swedes, their monarch Gustav Adolf found a refuge in Sztum Castle. On the 12th September 1635 a truce between Poland and Sweden was signed in Sztumska Wieś, a village near Sztum. Today, the event is reminded by a memorial plaque placed at that site. During the

Swedish Deluge (1655-1660) the town fell into poverty, which was compounded by a great fire of 1683, when even the town hall burnt down. The Mayor of Sztum, Peter Mogge, offered one of his surviving townhouses to be used by the town council and the Lutheran congregation (which had previously held their religious services at the town hall).
The Sztum Centre of Culture

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