Malbork Castle: The Brick Marvel

The Malbork Castle in northern Poland wears two feathers in its cap. Not only it is the largest castle in the world measured by land area, it’s also the world’s largest brick castle. The castle was originally constructed in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights — a German Catholic religious order of crusaders — in order to strengthen their own control of the area. Over the next 100 years, the castle was enlarged, embellished and fortified until it had become the largest castle in the world. The castle was built with bricks because quality building stones was lacking in the region. Bricks were made and baked on site in the outer yard using mud from the river banks. Stone was used sparingly, but only for decorative elements, particularly in the church and chapter house entrances. It's estimated that approximately 30 million bricks were used in its construction. During World War II, there was lot of fighting in the area and the castle was badly damaged by Allied shelling. Nearly half of the castle was devastated. Over the next 70 years, the castle was slowly brought back to shape, with the work being concluded in 2016.