The Order of Brothers of the German House Saint Mary In Jerusalem took possession on the land of Gniew in 1283. Based on the law of Che³mno in 1297 the city stood next to the Teutonic castle built to the pattern of convent castles. The monumental silhouette along with the church of St. Nicholas is still constitute the characteristic dominant of the southern panorama of Gniew.
The Gniew Castle was the most powerful claim of the Teutonic Order on the left bank of the Vistula. Built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, it was the home of the Knights commanders, and in the times of Poland, when the town belonged to Poland, it was a mayor"s seat. The castle was rebuilt in several times (granary, prison) and eventually burned in the Great Fire in 1921.
In the years 1968-1974, the FAMA Ship Machinery Works in Gniew undertook the first stage of the reconstruction of the castle, completed by laying the ceiling over the top storey, roofing the building and covering the roof with ceramic tiles. Under the public works in 1992, the Council of the Town and Commune of Gniew began the second stage of renovation including the construction of the ceiling in the west and east wings, adaptation of the interior and reconstruction of the chapel as well as adaptation of the Castle Hill to serve tourism purposes. Currnetly the Gniew castle is owned by the corporation of castles 'Zamek Gniew'.
Fortress also houses branch of the Archaeological Museum in Gdansk, Husar"s banner under the auspices of Marshal of Pomeranian Voivodeship, Yellow infantry regiment of Adolfusa Gustawusa II, Schola Cantorum Gymevensis Choir, Hunting Center and the Military History Society of the brotherhood of Gdansk. Since 1992, the castle has been used as a venue for spectacles, historical shows and chivalric tournaments. Today it is recognized as one of the major centers for promoting and maintaining the medieval tradition and heritage in Poland. Throughout the year are organized events, conferences, conventions, scientific symposia, banquets, and historical feasts.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.