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IMG BORDER=1 style=

CASTLE RUIN IN SZYMBARK, VIEW FROM THE SOUTHEAST



he cas­tle was pro­bab­ly built in the 1370s by the pa­rish priest of the Po­me­za­nian cha­pter Hen­ry of Ska­rlin. An in­scrip­tion in the form of gla­zed ce­ra­mic ti­les pla­ced a­bo­ve the en­tran­ce to the court­yard in­for­med a­bout the foun­der of this be­au­ti­ful brick strong­hold. Its text was as fol­lows: HEC PO­RTA CON­STRUC­TA EST AN­NO DO­MI­NI MCCCLXXXVI TEM­PO­RE FRA­TRIS HEN­RI­CI DE SKA­RLIN PRE­PO­ZI­TI, which can be tran­sla­ted as: The ga­te was e­rec­ted in the year of our Lord 1386 un­der the reign of bro­ther Hen­ry of Skar­lin - the pre­fect. So­me hi­stor­ians, ho­we­ver, pre­sent a slig­htly dif­fe­rent o­pi­nion, ac­cor­ding to which the pro­cess of for­ming a brick de­fen­si­ve seat star­ted much ear­lier, per­haps e­ven in the 13th cen­tu­ry, and the a­bo­ve men­tio­ned text re­fers to the fi­nal ph­ase of the pro­ject. The­re is no dis­cre­pan­cy in the his­to­ry of the pla­ce whe­re it was built - it is com­mon­ly as­su­med that in the pre-Teu­to­nic ti­mes the­re was a for­ti­fied Prus­sian strong­hold sur­roun­ded by wa­ter. The cas­tle in Szym­bark was to se­rve as the re­si­den­ce of the pre­fect of the Po­me­za­nian chap­ter, an in­sti­tu­tion that was a coun­cil of the Po­me­za­nian dio­ce­se bi­shop in the Teu­to­nic sta­te, which ow­ned the east­ern re­gion of the bishopric.


IMG BORDER=1 style=

CASTLE IN SZYMBARK, EAST WING WITH ENTRANCE GATE


he lo­cat­ion cho­sen for the buil­ding si­te was qui­te u­nu­su­al, mo­re than 40 ki­lo­me­ters from the head­quar­ters of the Chap­ter in Kwi­dzyn, far a­way from the lar­ger ur­ban cen­ters, but cha­rac­te­ri­zed by ex­cel­lent na­tu­ral con­dit­ions for its de­fen­se. We as­su­me that the first sta­ge of the in­vest­ment was com­ple­ted in 1386 and in­clu­ded the full pe­ri­me­ter of the defensive walls equipped with ten towers, a gate tower and a drawbridge leading to the courtyard. However, two of the planned towers were never completed , but the in­ten­tion to build them is e­vi­den­ced by the re­mains of foun­dat­ions in the wes­tern wall. Du­ring this pha­se of the ca­stle's fun­ctio­ning, the re­si­den­tial part and the u­ti­li­ty rooms we­re con­cen­tra­ted in the wes­tern part of the court­yard. At the be­gin­ning of 15th cen­tu­ry, chan­ges we­re ma­de to in­cre­a­se the u­se­­ful­ness of the buil­ding for the needs of the Chap­ter, which re­sul­ted in the cas­tle be­co­ming much mo­re re­si­den­tial than in the 14th cen­tu­ry, when it was do­mi­na­ted by de­fen­si­ve va­lue. The spa­tial ar­ran­ge­ment was then en­lar­ged by e­rec­ting the east­ern part of the sou­thern wing and rai­sing the nor­thern part of the wes­tern wing, whe­re the re­fec­to­ry and ca­stle kit­chen we­re lo­ca­ted. As part of the Go­thic trans­for­ma­tion, the up­per li­ne of the de­fen­si­ve walls was rai­sed by 2 to 4 me­tres, the cor­ner to­wers we­re co­ve­red with a po­ly­go­nal or cy­lin­dri­cal top, and the east­ern ga­te was ex­ten­ded. In the first half of the 15th cen­tu­ry, the re­si­den­tial and de­fen­si­ve com­plex, to­ge­ther with the ad­ja­cent set­tle­ment, was not on­ly the seat of the pre­a­chers, but al­so the pla­ce whe­re Ger­man set­tlers sta­yed. It is al­so worth men­tio­ning the lon­ger vi­sit of the bi­shops Ger­hard Stolp­mann and Jan Ma­rie­nau from Chel­mno, who sta­yed he­re for so­me ti­me in 1421 su­per­vi­sing the scrip­to­rium pre­pa­ring do­cu­ments for the plan­ned pro­cess be­tween the Po­lish sta­te and the Or­der.


RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE AT THE TURN OF 14TH AND 15TH CENTURIES ACCORDING TO A. MACUR


he ca­stle in Szym­bark in the form gi­ven to it at the be­gin­ning of the 15th cen­tu­ry was a spa­cious and com­for­ta­ble pla­ce for the in­ha­bi­tants, but its de­fen­si­ve fe­a­tu­res we­re not out­stan­ding. As a re­sult, du­ring the Thir­teen Years' War be­tween the Prus­sian U­nion sup­por­ted by Po­land and the Teu­to­nic Knights, the for­tress be­ca­me the pro­per­ty of one si­de and the ot­her se­ve­ral ti­mes and was fi­nal­ly de­stro­yed. Af­ter the se­cond pe­a­ce in To­run, it re­mai­ned wit­hin the bor­ders of the Teu­to­nic sta­te and was lif­ted from ru­ins and sli­ghtly mo­der­ni­zed wi­thin a few ye­ars. Szym­bark had a gre­at im­por­tan­ce at that ti­me as the main re­si­den­ce of the Po­me­za­nian ca­the­dral pa­rish priests, as evi­den­ced by the 1466 men­tions in the do­cu­ments of the Grand Mas­ter, in which he was des­cri­bed as pro­bist Kain Schon­berg, and in the do­cu­ments of the Chap­ter, whe­re he ap­pe­a­red as our hou­se and our ca­stle. Du­ring the last Po­lish-Teu­to­nic war the buil­ding did not suf­fer be­cau­se it was not be­sie­ged. Al­though ma­ny Po­lish troops un­der the com­mand of Sta­nis­law Kost­ka ca­me he­re, but the pa­rish priest Mi­ko­laj Schön­born o­pe­ned the ga­tes wi­se­ly, the­re we­re no mo­re se­rious fights. The con­seq­uen­ce of the war lost by the Or­der was its se­cu­la­ri­za­tion and hu­ge ter­ri­to­rial los­ses for the be­ne­fit of Po­land. The last Po­me­za­nian bi­shop Er­hard von Queiss (+1529) con­ver­ted to Lu­the­ra­nism, a bi­shop's es­ta­te for­mal­ly han­ded o­ver to the Prus­sian prin­ce Al­brecht Ho­hen­zol­lern (+1568), but in prac­ti­ce he still ma­na­ged them, but not as a cler­gy­man but wit­hin the fra­me­work of the Main Of­fi­ce cal­led Haup­tamt, which was es­ta­bli­shed in the­se are­as. Af­ter his child­less death, the sta­ros­ty and the ca­stle re­cei­ved the first Evan­ge­li­cal bi­shop Georg von Po­lenz (+1550), who did not per­ma­nen­tly li­ve in Szym­bark, but in a dis­tant Bal­ga, which may in­di­ca­te that the for­tress was not in good con­dit­ion at that ti­me.


CASTLE FROM THE SOUTHEAST IN THE DRAWING FROM THE FIRST HALF OF THE XIX CENTURY


is son Te­o­fil (+1599) took o­ver the in­deb­ted es­ta­te in 1550, and af­ter him Szym­bark was ma­na­ged by grand­son Al­brecht von Po­lenz, Herr auf Schön­berg (+1619), who, al­re­a­dy ha­ving the he­re­di­ta­ry right to own the es­ta­te, re­built the ca­stle in the Re­nais­san­ce sty­le. The ef­fect of the con­struc­tion works car­ried out in the years 1570-90 was a ve­ry far-re­a­ching de­gra­da­tion of de­fen­si­ve fe­a­tu­res in fa­vour of chan­ges ai­med at im­pro­ving e­ve­ry­day fun­ctio­na­li­ty and aes­the­tics in ac­cor­dan­ce with the re­qui­re­ments of their ti­me. The west­ern wing has been com­ple­te­ly trans­for­med, whe­re com­for­ta­ble li­ving rooms ha­ve been ar­ran­ged. A one-sto­rey buil­ding was e­rec­ted in the nort­hern part of the east­ern wing and a se­cond in the sout­hern part, thus clo­sing the ga­te wing. Cor­ner to­wers in the east wing re­cei­ved stuc­co in­ter­ior de­co­ra­tion and Re­nais­san­ce fi­re­pla­ces, and re­si­den­tial buil­dings we­re de­co­ra­ted with or­na­men­tal tops. The­re we­re al­so trans­for­ma­tions in the spa­tial la­yout of the clock to­wer, but the most im­por­tant chan­ge from the point of view of the loss of de­fen­si­ve fe­a­tu­res of the ca­stle was the re­pla­ce­ment of the wood­en draw­brid­ge with a brick brid­ge. A cost­ly and long-la­sting in­vest­ment was ac­cen­tu­a­ted by the em­bed­ding of the von Po­lentz coat of arms o­ver the en­tran­ce ga­te and the pla­cing of me­tal flags with ini­tials TvP on the tops of the west­ern to­wers.


LITHOGRAPH FROM A. DUNCKER'S ALBUM, MID-XIXTH CENTURY


he von Po­lentz fa­mi­ly ru­led the Szym­bark es­ta­te for 121 ye­ars. In 1653 it was bought by Jo­nasz Ka­zi­mierz zu Eu­len­burg (+1667), and four­teen years la­ter the wi­dow of the de­ce­a­sed ow­ner pled­ged it to her son-in-law Te­o­dor von Schlie­ben (+1695), a Kur­land voi­v­ode, who be­ca­me a full ow­ner of the pro­per­ty in 1670. Af­ter the death of The­o­do­re his son Er­nest Si­gis­mund (+1741) de­ci­ded to sell the ca­stle, which he did in March 1699. The bu­yer was the cham­ber­lain of the ro­yal court, the he­re­di­ta­ry sta­rosts of Da­brów­no and Ila­wa, Ernst Finck von Finck­en­stein (+1717) cal­led a we­al­thy sheep­hol­der, be­cau­se the von Finck­en­stein fa­mi­ly o­wed their e­nor­mous wealth and high so­cial po­si­tion to the breed­ing of the­se a­ni­mals and wool tra­de in par­ti­cu­lar. Ernst per­ma­nen­tly re­si­ded in Da­bró­wno, in the pa­la­ce an­ne­xed to the old Teu­to­nic ca­stle, and ne­ver mo­ved to Szym­bark. His son Al­brecht Chris­toph Finck (+1730) was the first to do so, and in 1700-30 he re­built the ca­stle in the Ba­ro­que sty­le in or­der to a­dapt the buil­ding to his own and his fa­mi­ly's needs. The chan­ges in­clu­ded main­ly the sout­hern wing and the sout­hern part of the e­ast­ern wing, whe­re the win­dows we­re en­lar­ged and an am­phi­la­dic la­yout of lar­ge rooms co­ve­red with rich­ly de­co­ra­ted pla­fonds, fi­re­pla­ces and floors was cre­a­ted. As part of the works, the nort­hern part of the e­ast­ern wing was rai­sed to­get­her with the en­tran­ce ga­te, and in the north-east­ern part of the court­yard a man­sard roof­ed ri­de hou­se was e­rec­ted. The Ba­ro­que pa­la­ce was en­ri­ched with an aest­he­ti­cal­ly be­au­ti­ful well of Nep­tu­ne in the cen­tral part of the court­yard and a gar­den with a clas­sic­is­tic o­ran­ge­ry es­ta­blis­hed in the se­cond half of the 18th cen­tu­ry.


ROMANTIC RECONSTRUCTION OF A CASTLE FROM THE SECOND HALF OF THE XIX CENTURY



Von Finckenstein is a count fa­mi­ly of West­phal­ian and Ale­ma­nian o­ri­gin, foun­ded in East Prus­sia, but ac­cor­ding to le­gend his pro­to­plains li­ved in Swit­zer­land and Aus­tria, whe­re in the 9th cen­tu­ry they re­cei­ved land from the hands of Char­les the Great. Their esta­tes we­re con­cen­tra­ted main­ly in Up­per Prus­sia, in the Sta­ro­sty of Ila­wa, Ostró­da and Da­brow­no. Sin­ce the se­cond half of the 16th cen­tu­ry they ha­ve been ga­the­ring of­fi­ces and lan­ded esta­tes he­re, which in the 19th cen­tu­ry co­ve­red an area of 14 thou­sand he­cta­res. The in­cre­a­se in fi­nan­cial po­wer was ac­com­pa­nied by an ac­ti­ve par­ti­ci­pa­tion in the Han­se­a­tic Le­a­gue of North Eu­ro­pe­an tra­ding ci­ties from the Mid­dle Ages and the be­gin­ning of the mo­dern era, and la­ter al­so by a car­eer as a ci­vil ser­vant and mi­li­ta­ry of­fi­cer. In the 18th cen­tu­ry the­re we­re se­pa­ra­ted li­nes of Fin­cken­steins: the ol­der one in Szym­bark and Da­brów­no and the youn­ger one li­ving in the pa­la­ce in Ka­mie­niec.



FAMILY PHOTO OF THE CASTLE OWNERS, 1910


n the first half of the 19th cen­tu­ry, with the birth of ro­man­tic ide­as in ar­chi­tec­tu­re, the fa­shion for the Go­thic sty­le ca­me in­to being. It was al­so gran­ted to Lud­wig Finck von Finck­en­stein (+1863), who in 1857-58 re­built the south wing of the ca­stle and con­nec­ted it fun­ctio­nal­ly with the buil­ding lo­ca­ted on the south-east­ern cor­ner. Their in­ter­iors ha­ve been re­de­co­ra­ted and or­na­men­ted. Sin­ce then, they ha­ve been oc­cu­pied by re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve rooms, guest rooms, two li­bra­ries and a the­at­re hall cal­led the Greek Cham­ber. The vast gar­den a­round the ca­stle and the la­ke was trans­for­med in­to a land­sca­pe park, en­ri­ching it with a small zoo. Ac­cess to it was fa­ci­li­ta­ted by a cy­lin­dri­cal stair­case ad­ded to one of the to­wers in the sout­hern wall, who­se ou­ter shell has been well pre­ser­ved to this day. As part of this in­vest­ment, the ma­nor farm was ex­pan­ded by e­rec­ting a num­ber of neo-Got­hic buil­dings, and ten­nis courts we­re es­ta­blis­hed near the west­ern walls of the re­si­den­ce. The sub­seq­uent and so far last mo­der­ni­za­tion of the ca­stle was ai­med at a­dap­ting it to the use of mo­dern tech­no­lo­gi­cal a­chie­ve­ments: elect­ri­fi­ca­tion and te­le­pho­nes, but al­so in­clu­ded a chan­ge of de­co­ra­tion and par­tial re­pair of the wall of the nort­hern cur­tain and the bridge. This ti­me, ho­we­ver, the works con­duc­ted in 1904-34 we­re car­ried out stric­tly ac­cor­ding to the in­struc­tions and un­der the su­per­vis­ion of Ber­nard Schmid, the con­ser­va­tor of Mal­bork Ca­stle. As the au­thor of re­con­struc­tion em­pha­si­zed, the main idea ac­com­pa­ny­ing the re­sto­ra­tion was to pre­ser­ve the ca­stle's sub­stan­ce in its pre­sent sta­te and to mi­ti­ga­te the sligh­tly exag­ge­ra­ted form, which was the re­sult of a ro­man­tic re­con­struc­tion from the 19th cen­tu­ry.



IMG BORDER=1 style=

THE SOUTH WING IN 1915 AND 2019


he mem­bers of the von Finck­en­stein fa­mi­ly li­ved in Szym­bark al­most un­til the end of the Se­cond World War, le­a­ving it on 21 Ja­nu­ary 1945 for fear of the 2nd Be­la­ru­sian Red Ar­my of­fen­si­ve. And al­though the di­rect fights be­tween Ger­man and So­viet troops lu­cki­ly a­voi­ded the ca­stle, af­ter rob­bing its in­ter­iors in Ap­ril that year the So­viets bur­ned it, as well as the ne­ar­by pa­la­ce in Ka­mie­niec. Ac­cor­ding to the eye­wit­ness of tho­se e­vents, they had to set him on fi­re as ma­ny as twi­ce, be­cau­se the first ti­me the fi­re didn't get too clo­se to the walls. When the ca­stle was ta­ken with fi­re for good, the tem­pe­ra­tu­re was sup­po­sed­ly so high that the shoot­ing ti­les we­re found e­ven at the rail­way sta­tion in Za­bro­wo. On­ly the rem­nants of the to­wer and the ex­ter­nal walls re­mai­ned from the Go­thic buil­dings, and in such a sta­te the ru­ined buil­ding be­lon­ged to the POHZ Ul­no­wo kol­khoz. In the 1960s, the first se­cu­ri­ty works be­gan, in­clu­ding the roof­ing of the clock to­wer and the ga­te buil­ding, and the in­ter­ior was cle­a­red of rub­ble. Un­for­tu­na­te­ly, soon af­ter­wards, as part of com­mu­ni­ty works, the rem­nants of the court­yard walls of the south wing we­re ir­res­pon­sib­ly dis­man­tled. The de­stro­yed buil­ding was ta­ken o­ver in 1988 by the foun­da­tion Wi­dziec Mu­zy­ka (See With the Help of Mu­sic) with the in­ten­tion of re­buil­ding it and o­pe­ning he­re a cen­tre for the e­du­ca­tion of blind child­ren from all o­ver Eu­ro­pe. Af­ter se­ve­ral ye­ars of the foun­da­tion's ac­ti­vi­ty, as a re­sult of which the west­ern wall was par­tial­ly re­con­struc­ted and the vaults in the cor­ner to­wers we­re re­con­struc­ted, but al­so so­me da­ma­ge was do­ne to the Got­hic walls of the buil­dings and cel­lar vaults, the re­con­struc­tion plan col­lap­sed pro­bab­ly due to fi­nan­cial re­a­sons. In 1997 the ruin was bought by a pri­va­te ow­ner and sin­ce then it has been a­ban­do­ned un­til 2018, when it was pur­cha­sed at bai­liff's au­ction by a com­pa­ny who­se re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve pu­blic­ly an­noun­ced his in­ten­tion to ful­ly re­build the ca­stle and a­dapt it in­to a ho­tel.



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VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE LAKE SIDE IN 1910 AND NOWADAYS



In 1995, the ruins of the Szym­bark Ca­stle we­re u­sed by the fa­mous Ger­man di­rec­tor Vol­ker Schlön­dorff for The Ogre mo­vie to shoot the sce­nes of the con­quest of Kal­ten­born Ca­stle by So­viet troops, as well as the sce­nes of the cam­ping of Hi­tler­ju­gend mem­bers, for whom a hu­ge cam­ping si­te was built at the back of the ca­stle for this pur­po­se. The main ro­le of Abel Tif­fau­ges, a man with the psy­che of a child fa­sci­na­ted by the po­wer of the Third Reich, was pla­yed by the ac­tor John Mal­ko­vich. Du­ring the shoot­ing of the sce­nes in Szym­bark, he and his crew mo­ved to the 'Kor­mo­ran' ho­tel in Ila­wa, whe­re he ren­ted the en­ti­re cen­tral part of the buil­ding for him­self, his wi­fe, two chil­dren and a nan­ny.

To this day, the ruins of the ca­stle hi­de mo­dest re­lics of the film, such as the wood­en win­dow fra­mes in the east­ern wall or the coat of arms of the ow­ners of Szym­bark, re­no­va­ted for the pur­po­ses of film pro­du­ction. Ho­we­ver, the­re is no ar­ti­fi­cial wall, scul­ptu­re or ... dum­my of the tank, which - as wit­nes­ses claim - was mo­ving on wheels from the bi­cyc­le...






CASTLE IN PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 1930S, FROM THE TOP: VIEW FROM THE WEST, WEST WING FROM THE COURTYARD, VIEW FROM THE SOUTHEAST



he castle in Szym­bark was built on a plan si­mi­lar to a re­cta­ngle me­a­su­ring 75x92 me­ters in si­ze from the north and 97 me­ters from the south, pre­su­ma­bly on the em­bank­ment of an ear­ly me­die­val Prus­sian strong­hold, so the court­yard le­vel is about 9 me­ters high­er than the sur­round­ing le­vel. Ten to­wers ha­ve been in­te­gra­ted in­to the brick walls: four cor­ner to­wers and six cur­tain to­wers, al­though o­ri­gi­nal­ly the­re we­re two ad­dit­io­nal to­wers plan­ned, who­se found­at­ion tra­ces can be seen at the west­ern wall. All the to­wers we­re pro­tru­ding sligh­tly in front of the fa­ce of the cur­tains, which al­lo­wed to shoot at the flan­king wall of the ca­stle. The ori­gi­nal height of cir­cuit was 2 to 4 me­tres lo­wer than the cur­rent one, which is per­fec­tly vi­si­ble in the exam­ple of the nor­thern cor­ner to­wers, which are re­ctan­gu­lar in their ba­se and top­ped with a cy­lin­dri­cal and po­ly­go­nal su­per­struc­tu­re. The en­tran­ce to the court­yard led from the east on a wi­de em­bank­ment ri­sing up­wards and furt­her o­ver the ca­stle moat on a wood­en draw­bridge, re­pla­ced in mo­dern ti­mes with a brick ar­ca­de brid­ge, and then through a vaul­ted pas­sa­ge in the ga­te buil­ding. The ga­te is ad­joi­ned by a 24-me­tre-high four-sto­rey main to­wer, cal­led the clock to­wer. It is in­te­res­ting to no­te the con­trast in the use of the spa­ce of this to­wer, whe­re the first floor, vaul­ted and de­co­ra­ted with co­lor­ful po­ly­chro­mes, ser­ved as a cha­pel, and un­der­neath it a 10-me­tre deep pri­son cel­lar was built. Four win­ged buil­dings ad­joi­ned the cur­tain wall from the in­si­de, but the quad­ri­la­te­ral was bro­ken from the north. The la­yout of the buil­dings, their height, in­ter­ior ar­ran­ge­ment and sty­le of ex­ter­nal de­co­ra­tion we­re chan­ging with the trans­for­ma­tions of the ca­stle ar­chi­tec­tu­re car­ried out by suc­ces­si­ve ow­ners wit­hin the fra­me­work of the mo­der­ni­za­tion of the fa­mi­ly seat. It can be as­su­med, ho­we­ver, that the ba­sic fun­ctions we­re per­for­med by the west­ern wing, whe­re ini­tial­ly the­re we­re re­si­den­tial cham­bers, a cha­pel and a re­fec­to­ry, and from the mid-15th cen­tu­ry al­so by the sout­hern wing, whe­re in mo­dern ti­mes the most re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve rooms in the ca­stle we­re con­cen­tra­ted. The court­yard buil­dings we­re com­ple­men­ted by wood­en buil­dings or tim­ber fra­me struc­tu­res for uti­li­ty pur­po­ses, as well as wood­en cloi­sters ad­ded to brick hou­ses.



A PLAN OF THE CASTLE FROM 1885, DIE BAU- UND KUNSTDENKMALER DER KREISES LOBAU:
1. ENTRANCE GATE, 2. SOUTH WING, 3. WESTERN WING, 4. STABLES, 5. KITCHEN, 6. RIDING HALL, 7. OFFICE, 8. MAIN TOWER


EASTERN ELEVATION, DIE BAU- UND KUNSTDENKMALER DER KREISES LOBAU, 1885



par­tial­ly re­sto­red clo­sed pe­ri­me­ter of sto­ne and brick walls of full or al­most full height with to­wers, ga­te and sto­ne ar­ca­de brid­ge sur­vi­ved the war da­ma­ge. The in­ter­nal and par­ti­tion walls of re­si­den­tial buil­dings ha­ve been pre­ser­ved in their rem­nants, which was main­ly due to ir­res­pon­si­ble de­ci­sions a­bout the suc­ces­si­ve de­mo­li­tion ma­de du­ring the com­munist era. An unat­ten­ded park, on­ce a land­sca­pe park, is now actu­al­ly a wild­er­ness fo­rest, though with a still im­pres­si­ve trees. The­re are al­so no tra­ces of for­mer glo­ry in the form of the al­leys sur­roun­ding the ca­stle and e­ven­ly trim­med lawns, which tur­ned in­to a me­a­dow, or the cul­ti­va­ted la­ke sho­re, whe­re to­day main­ly at­ten­tion is drawn to gar­ba­ges left by an­glers. Sin­ce the mo­nu­ment was in pri­va­te hands in 1997, not much has chan­ged he­re, al­though per­haps its in­ac­ces­si­bi­li­ty o­ver the years has al­lo­wed to sa­ve in­ter­iors from van­da­lism. We can on­ly ho­pe that the bad ti­me of the Szym­bark ca­stle has just pas­sed, be­cau­se sin­ce March 2018 it has a new ow­ner. It is IBC In­vest­ments com­pa­ny, which for PLN 1.83 mil­lion bought a ruin with neig­hbou­ring plots of land to cre­ate a ho­tel and a con­fe­ren­ce cen­tre here. Ac­cor­ding to the pur­cha­ser's de­cla­ra­tion, the re­con­struc­tion of the ca­stle is to be com­ple­ted in 2023.


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IN THE CASTLE COURTYARD, PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 2004


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WEST WING OF THE CASTLE / EAST GATEWAY



In March 2017, a 14-year-old re­si­dent of Ila­wa ac­ci­den­tal­ly found near the for­mer Prus­sian ma­nor hou­se in Gu­blaw­ki a 'tre­a­su­re' be­lon­ging be­fo­re the war to the von Finck­en­stein fa­mi­ly. The con­tent of the me­tal ves­sel in which the de­po­sit was hid­den was ve­ry va­ried and had main­ly a sen­ti­men­tal cha­rac­ter. Apart from a sym­bo­lic yarn of wool, te­xti­les or per­so­nal ob­jects: fur cap, glas­ses and toi­let­ries, it al­so con­tai­ned a uni­form and equip­ment of a Wehr­macht of­fi­cer, a fi­le of ban­kno­tes, je­wel­le­ry, a poc­ket watch, as well as per­so­nal no­tes and fa­mi­ly al­bums. But the do­cu­ments that at­trac­ted the most at­ten­tion we­re the will of Hans Jo­a­chim von Finck­en­stein, his dia­ry from World War I and, abo­ve all, the let­ter of iron is­su­ed to the ow­ners of the ma­nor in Gu­blaw­ki by the So­viet ma­jor who wro­te in it: Co­mra­des com­man­ders and sol­diers. Ple­ase do not harm the in­ha­bi­tants of this hou­se. They wel­co­med us ve­ry well.

A part of the finds of hi­sto­ri­cal va­lue has be­co­me the pro­per­ty of the Sta­te and has al­re­ady been or will be shown as ex­hi­bits in one of mu­se­ums. Per­so­nal be­lon­gings we­re re­tur­ned to the suc­ces­sor of Hans Jo­a­chim, 81 years old daugh­ter Wald­traut von Finck­en­stein, who, de­spi­te her old age, took them back per­so­nal­ly wit­hout hi­ding her e­mot­ions.



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VIEW FROM THE SOUTHEAST IN 2019


AND THAT'S HOW THIS PLACE LOOKED 100 YEARS AGO



he ruin is lo­ca­ted at the west­ern end of the vil­la­ge, right on the sho­res of Szym­bar­skie La­ke. Dri­ving by car a­long road No. 521 from Ila­wa (di­rec­tion Pra­bu­ty, Susz) af­ter a­bout 9 ki­lo­me­ters you should turn left and af­ter a few hun­dred me­ters - by the cha­pel - on­ce a­gain turn left, and then dri­ve straight un­til you reach the gro­ce­ry sto­re, whe­re you should turn right. The car can be par­ked di­rec­tly in front of the ca­stle. It is al­so con­ve­nient to get to the ca­stle by train. Then you should get off at the Za­bro­wo sta­tion and from the­re head north-east. Af­ter about 200 me­tres the as­phalt road runs left into the vil­la­ge, and to­wards the east the­re is an ave­nue with signs of a bi­cy­cle trail. Con­ti­nu­ing the course set by the al­ley you will reach your de­sti­na­tion af­ter 20 mi­nu­tes of wal­king.




1. M. Garniec, M. Jackiewicz-Garniec: Zamki panstwa krzyzackiego w dawnych Prusach, studio Arta 2009
2. M. Haftka: Zamki krzyzackie w Polsce, 1999
3. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kolodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
4. M. Prarat, K. Zimna-Kawecka: Konserwatorskie i spoleczne aspekty ochrony ruin zamków [...]
5. R. Sypek: Zamki i obiekty warowne panstwa krzyzackiego, Agencja CB 2000
6. J. Wankowska-Sobiesiak: Zamek w Szymbarku: budowa, zniszczenie [...], Ochrona zabytków 46/4 1993
7. P. Zaniewski: Szlakami zamków krzyzackich, Sport i Turystyka MUZA SA 2005


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NEAR THE CASTLE LEADS A GREEN HIKING TRAIL


Castles nearby:
Prabuty - relics of the castle of the Pomezanian bishops 13th century, 24 km
Lubawa - relics of the castle of the Chelmno bishops 14th century, 32 km
Bratian - relics of the Teutonic Knights' castle 13/14th century, currently the mill, 38 km
Dzierzgon - relics of the Teutonic Knights' castle 13th century, 38 km
Przezmark - ruins of the Teutonic Knights' castle 14th century, 44 km



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text: 2019
photographs: 2004, 2019
© by Jacek Bednarek