Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region (Vistula delta), with 38,478 inhabitants (2006). Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Malbork County.
Founded in the 13th century by the Knights of the Teutonic Order, the town is noted for its medieval Malbork Castle, built in the 13th Century as the Order's headquarters in what later became known as East Prussia.
The town was built in Prussia around the fortress Ordensburg Marienburg which was founded in 1274 on the east bank of the river Nogat by the Teutonic Knights. Both the castle and the town (named Marienburg in German and Malborg or Malbork in Polish) were named for their patron saint, the Virgin Mary. This fortified castle became the seat of the Teutonic Order and Europe's largest Gothic fortress. During the Thirteen Years' War, the castle of Marienburg was pawned by the Teutonic Order to their imperial soldiers from Bohemia. They sold the castle in 1457 to King Casimir IV of Poland in lieu of indemnities.
Under continuous construction for nearly 230 years, the castle complex is actually three castles combined in one another. A classic example of a medieval fortress, it is the world’s largest brick castle and one of the most impressive of its kind in Europe. The castle was in the process of being restored by the Germans when World War II broke out. During the war, the castle was over 50% destroyed. Restoration has been ongoing since the war. However, the main cathedral in the castle, fully restored just prior to the war and destroyed during the war, remains in its ruined state. The castle and its museum are listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.