Szestno – teutonic castle

History

Before the Teutonic conquest, these territories inhabited the Prussian tribe of Galindians, and the lands were largely overgrown with primeval forests. After the administrative division of Prussia, this area was directly under the authority of the Order as part of the commandry in Balga. The brick castle was built after 1371, in the place of a timber watchtower burned by Lithuanians. Initially, it served a guard function of the conquered territories and the route to Kętrzyn, and managed and prepared colonization of the immediate area. Later, it also fulfilled important economic functions. There was a stud in the castle farm, and a watermill and a brewery to the south of the stronghold. Large food supplies were stored in the castle: dried meat, cheese, flour, peas, mead, and beer. From 1401, the castle became the seat of the Teutonic pfleger, probably at that time its small extension was made. During the Thirteen Years’ War Szestno was captured the army on the Polish service, but in 1455 the castle returned to the Teutonic Knights. After the secularization of the Order in 1525, it was the seat of the starosts. Then it was deserted and was dismantled to a large extent.

Architecture

The castle was built on a hill, over a stream connecting two lakes. It was a regular, quadrangular, brick building measuring 25×25 meters. It consisted of two houses: the main one on the north side and the later one, the eastern one from the beginning of the 15th century. A free south-west part created a small inner courtyard. It is known from the fifteenth and sixteenth-century inventories that there was a chapel, a refectory, an official chamber, a cellar, a bakery, a brewery and an armory in the castle. There was also a malt, a powder magazine and a granary. From the west there was a gatehouse with dimensions of 7×8 meters, protruding from the defensive wall. The perimeter walls exceeded 7 meters in height. On the western side, an outer ward was placed behind the moat, while on the south side, there was a castle mill on the river. In the area of the outer ward, there was an Order’s farm, outside the castle there was also a sawmill, tavern and garden.

Current state

Very little has survived from the castle. A foundation wall covered with vegetation, collapsed basements of the northern wing and a five-meter, south-western corner have preserved.

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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.