The Teutonic castle in Giżycko
The first strengthenings in the area of Giżycko as we know it today were constructed by pagan people of Prussia from the Yotvingian tribe. After the surrounding lands were occupied by the Teutonic order around the year 1290, commander Meinhardfrom Querfurt constructed a small, wooden watchtower, perhaps with the use of an early medieval settlement, which existed here before. About 50 years later, the watchtower was replaced with a castle, although ti was mostly made out of wood as well. The stronghold, which was established from the initiative of the great master Dietrich vom Altenburg, was mentioned in 1337 as Haus Leczenburg – it was part of the group of lonely watchtowers, situated deep in the forest and described in german literature as Wildahus. The end of its existence came during the invasion of prince Kiejstut in 1365, when the Lithuanian army conquered it, and later burned it.
The increase of the political meaning of the castle came in the early 15th century, when it was promoted to the role of the public prosecutor’s headquarters. However, itsa armament was never very impressive – 10 years after the great was with Poland, there were five bombards with stone balls, two guns with leaden balls and barely ten crossbows. After the outbreak of the 13-year war, in November of 1455, the troops of the Prussian Union conquered the castle almost without fighting.
The castle has been situated in a strategic place, on the isthmus between the lakes Mamry and Niegocin. A dominant element was a three-story house with a basement, which was constructed of bricks on a rectangular plan with the dimensions of approximately 14.5×22 meters.