Malbork – Malbork Castle (Amber Museum)

Inside the formidable Malbork Castle is the amber museum which for reasons known only to them is entirely missed off the audio guide they gave to me, and I only found it as I guessed it should be on the tour. The signage on site is pretty poor for this, I think they’re relying on their audio guide.

It’s quite a sizeable museum and would in normal circumstances be worth a visit in its own right, even if it wasn’t located within the castle. It opened in 1965, just four years after the castle reopened after repairs were made following the serious damage caused during the Second World War.

Amber is fossilised tree resin which I think is impressive when it contains prehistoric creatures, such as the one above. Amber is also commonly used in jewellery, although that’s of little interest to me. It has though been traded in this part of Poland for centuries and it has apparently been traded for thousands of years. I think it’s possible to walk along the beach and often find some, but on my coastal walk last week it was snowing which made that endeavour rather more complex.

Some of the examples of amber jewellery.

A recreation of an amber worker’s set-up.

There are some inter-active elements in the museum and the whole arrangement felt modern.

I can’t see that I was overly excited by amber which has been turned into other things, but this was quite impressive. It’s some sort of solitaire game on the left dating from the eighteenth century and on the right are chess pieces dating from the first part of the eighteenth century.

And my favourite item in the museum was the guild book of the Slupsk (a Polish town a little to the west of Gdansk) amber guild from 1569 until 1804.

Anyway, it was an interesting distraction from the rest of the castle. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that the audio guide didn’t include this section at all. That’s not entirely true, just as I was leaving the exhibition it decided to tell me that I had reached the beginning of the amber museum. I turned the damn thing off at that point.