Assegai Gallery Page 05 

The Castle in Reszel

Reszel, on the border of Warmia and Mazuria, was founded in 1241 AD by the Teutonic Order with the construction of a wooden guard post on the banks of the Izera (modern Sajna) river, which was subsequently twice destroyed by the Lithuanians. The settlement later came under the control of the Bishops of Warmia. The guard post and its surrounding settlement was granted a city charter in 1337. The years 1350-1401 saw the construction of the well-fortified castle. During 1373-1401 the city acquired its own fortifications in the form of a city wall, parts of which survive to this day, as well as a moat. The walls included three gates and multiple towers.

Following the epic 1410 Battle of Grunwald, the citizens of Reszel surrendered to the Polish King Wladislas Jagiello. In 1454 Reszel (German Rössel) joined Prussia, but reverted to Polish rule from 1466-1772.

During the Middle Ages Reszel wa famous for the manufacture of loom components, as well as cultivating and selling hops and wheat. In the 17th and 18th centuries the city was famous for sculpture, woodcarving (which survives to this day), high standards of gold jewellery craftsmanship and smithing. From 1818 it was the seat of the local government, which was subsequently relocated to the nearby town of Biskupiec.

After the first division of Poland the castle deteriorated. For some time it housed a prison and in 1822 the Evangelical community rebuilt and converted the southern wing into a church. The north wing was converted into living quarters.

The city suffered very little damage during World War II, but due to the forced evacuation of the German speaking Mazurian population in 1946 only 846 citizens remained, compared to the pre-war 1939 figure of 5058.

Baldowski, J. 1977. Warmia i Mazury Maly Przewodnik. 3rd Edition. Sport i Turystyka, Warsaw. ISBN 83-217-2381-0. page 205.


The brick built Gothic Castle in Reszel, just like the much larger Malbork, was built during the later Middle Ages by the Crusading Teutonic Order.  The main gateway tower houses a working portcullis and a lookout at the top.  The round guard tower to the left was added subsequently and historically looked out on a well directly in front of it.  The terraced stone walls in front of the Castle existed historically, but the stone was used after the Second World War to repair and rebuild damaged buildings.   The stone terraces were rebuilt during the early 1990's by pupils of the adjacent Technical High School (previously a Jesuit Monastery).

The Castle currently houses a hotel and coffee shop. The Castle is open daily for sightseeing. It is also a national monument and a beautiful feature in this historic town.

Click on any picture to see a bigger image...
The Castle
  • The Castle.
  • This scale model is housed inside the round guard tower.
  • Note the lack of spire on the model and the absence of the old Evangelical Church door.
  • The original wooden floor and wooden floor beams have been removed and replaced with bricks and concrete.

The Castle in Reszel Main door to the old Evangelical Church
  • Front view of the Castle.
  • Note the stone terraces, gate tower and spire to the right.
  • The door to the old Evangelical Church.

Main gateway, the portcullis is hidden in the shadows Main door to the Evangelical Church
  • Looking in through the main gateway into the courtyard.
  • The view from the gallery over the town, immediately to the right is the roof of part of the old Jesuit Monastery.

The town centre below the Castle The Castle as seen from the Monastery grounds
  • Photograph taken from the round guard tower overlooking the town centre.
  • The historical town council building with clock towering above the town centre.
  • Photograph taken from the grounds of the old Jesuit Monastery.
  • The wall directly to the left of the guard tower has been partly dismantled in order to create a gallery, looking out over the town (above).

The gateway from inside The Castle as seen from the main ramp
  • Photograph taken from the courtyard, looking out through the main gateway.
  • The Castle.

The Castle The spiral stairs inside the round guard tower
  • The round guard tower, the main square guard tower and the Evangelical spire.
  • The spiral staircase inside the round guard tower.

Unless otherwise stated, all photographs on this page were taken by Joanna Holliday (formerly Bajorek).

Created by Carl Holliday on April 24, 2001