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Malbork (German Marienburg) is a town in northern Poland in the Zulawy region, with 39,000 inhabitants (1998). Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodship since 1999, previously in Elblag Voivodship (1975-1998).
The city itself is based around the fortress of 'Marienburg' or 'Malbork', founded in 1274 on the Right Bank of the river Nogat by the Teutonic Knights. This fortified castle became the seat of the Teutonic Knights' Order and Europe's largest Gothic fortress. The river and flat terrain allow easy access for barges a hundred kilometers from the sea. Teutonic Knights collected tolls on river traffic and forced a monopoly of the Amber Trade. The city later became a member of the Hanseatic League, and many Hanse meetings were held there. See The Battle of Grunwald and Battle of Grunwald.
The castle and its museum are entered onto the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It is sometimes referred to as 'the largest heap of bricks north of the Alps'. Under continuous construction for nearly 230 years, Malbork is actually three castles nested in one another. The High , Middle and Low Castles are separated by additional dry moats and Towers. It housed some 3,000 "brothers in arms". The Low Castle walls enclose 52 acres, four times the area of Windsor Castle.