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Ketrzyn Castle History

In around 1329, on a hill on the Guber river, the Teutonic knight erected a wooden fort (Rastenburg). It was raised on the charred remains of a Prussian fortified village Rast, captured by the Knights in the 13th century. Today that site is occupied by the fortified church of St George. The purpose of the fort and its crew was to defend that part of the Teutonic state against frequent Lithuanian attacks; Rastenburg was also a staging post in crusades to pagan Lithuania. The fort was twice conquered and burnt by Lithuanians, first by troops commanded by duke Olgierd in 1345, and two years later by duke Kiejstut. Each time it was reconstructed and the nearby settlement filled with new inhabitants.

The Commander of Bałga, Johan Schindekopf, granted a charter to the settlement on 11th November 1357. At around the same time the construction of a brick castle located in the south-east corner of the town's fortified walls was undertaken.

Originally the castle consisted of three wings closed to the east by a wall with a gate. The great hall contained a refectory, rooms for the Teutonic official - procurator, and a chapel. The castle was surrounded with a wall with three corner towers and a gatehouse leading to the town. The castle and the adjacent manor contained a kitchen, a brewery, a mill, a bakery, a granary, a storehouse, an armoury, a powder magazine, a chapel and a dungeon.

During the Thirteen Years' War, in 1454, the burghers overpowered the castle. They imprisoned and then executed the Order's Procurator Wolfgang Sauer. After 1525, in Ducal Prussia, the castle was turned into a seat for the local administration official known as a starosta.

At the end of January 1945, after the town had been seized by the Red Army, the castle as well as most of the old town of Kętrzyn were burnt. The castle was reconstructed in 1962-1967. The external appearance of the castle was reproduced according the19th century drawings made by C. Steinbrecht, which meant that the castle regained its Gothic style.

At present the castle houses the Wojciech Kętrzyński Museum, the Municipal Library and the Zamek Cultural Centre.