Bezławki – teutonic castle

History

   Located on a towering hill, the Teutonic castle Bäslack in Bezławki was built at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. It served as the seat of the bailiffs subordinate to the teutonic pfleger in Kętrzyn. It was also a support for the Teutonic expeditions against the Lithuanians and secured the newly colonized areas. In historical sources, it appeared in 1402, when the great commander Wilhelm von Helfenstein, returning with the knights from the expedition to Vilnius, stopped in Bezławki. Švitrigaila (Świdrygiełło), the youngest brother of Polish and Lithuanian king Władysław Jagiełło, who wanted to gain power in Lithuania, also took part in the expedition. He stayed in Bezławki until 1404, taking part in diplomatic and military games. After the period of Polish-Teutonic struggles in the 15th century, the castle lost its importance. In 1583, it was transformed into a Protestant church, and then a Catholic church.

Architecture

   The main element of the castle was a house measuring 12×25 meters with two residential and third defensive storey. It is built of brick on the pedestal of glacial eratic stones reaching the first floor. The raw elevation with a small number of window openings is decorated with ogival recesses. It also had two stepped gables filled with blends, from which it remained only the eastern. The west was walled up with a tower added in the 18th century.
  
The internal layout of the rooms is not known, but one can assume, by analogy, that the storeys were divided into three parts. The floors were separated by timber ceilings, the cellars probably had brick barrel vaults. The ground floor probably had economic functions, the first floor representative and residential, and the third, one-space storey, warehouse and defense functions.
  
The castle courtyard, measuring 42 x 52 meters, was surrounded by a defensive wall, equipped with shallow half towers and two four-sided towers. The gate was directly opposite the house in the south-western curtain.

Current state

   The Bezławki Castle is currently the best preserved stronghold of the Teutonic Order from among a small, lower-position buildings. Survived the main castle’s house has preserved the gothic appearance. There are also visible relics of the perimeter wall, unfortunately unsecured and decaying. The castle currently functions as a church, and admission to its area is free.

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bibliography:
Garniec M., Garniec-Jackiewicz M.,  Zamki państwa krzyżackiego w dawnych Prusach, Olsztyn 2006.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.