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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Poland Series at PolishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Polish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 25. Siege of Malbork. In Polish, it’s called oblężenie Malborka.
Now, it's time to go back to the Middle Ages, namely the year 1410, to a small village called Malbork, where one of the 14 Polish UNESCO World Heritage Sites is located. It’s the largest Gothic fortress in Europe—a castle of the Teutonic Knights. In this very place, in the second half of July, we have a chance to learn the secrets behind the lives of the knights, and watch the siege of Malbork.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Who were the Teutonic Knights, who lived in the famous Malbork Castle?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The Castle of the Teutonic Knights in Malbork, once the capital of the Teutonic Knights, and currently the biggest brick building, or budynek z cegły, in Europe, was the site of many important historical events. One of them was the siege of the castle in 1410. In the same year, the battle of Grunwald took place, which is a date every Pole knows. On that date, the Polish-Lithuanian army celebrated a victory and defeated the Teutonic Knights. An army of more than thirty thousand then moved into Malbork and began the siege, which lasted over two months. The castle, however, was not captured until around forty years later.
It’s precisely this event that people have been able to witness first-hand in Malbork, every year, for over 13 years now. The stage by the walls of the castle is one of the largest outdoor spectacles in Europe and attracts thousands of tourists to Malbork. The main historical figures are impersonated by professional actors, and medieval enthusiasts from all over Poland provide the background. There are also horses, or in Polish - koń, cannons, or działo, as well as pyrotechnics and siege machines. The entire spectacle takes place after dark, which makes it even more impressive.
The re-enactment of the siege is definitely the biggest attraction of this event. However, you will also find other attractions there that familiarize attendees with life in medieval Poland over the course of the four-day period during which it is held. Alternate attractions include a medieval crafts fair, workshops, lance fights, a crossbow and archery competition, horse shows and tournaments, dance shows, and plebeian games.
During these few days, Malbork attracts fans, members of brotherhoods, and knights’ associations from all over Poland and abroad. A real knights' camp is pitched around the castle, where contemporary knights lift the curtain on life in a camp.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Who were the Teutonic Knights, who lived in the famous Malbork Castle?
The Teutonic Knights were one of the three most powerful orders of knights in history. The Order conquered part of the Polish territory and built a castle in Malbork, where the capital of the Teutonic Order was moved from Venice.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you like participating in historical re-enactments?
Leave us a comment letting us know at PolishPod101.com!
Well, that does it for this lesson and for this series. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting. Thanks for listening!