Malbork Castle, Poland
There is a place in Poland that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime - the Malbork castle. It was built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. It's one of its kind worldwide and of course a UNESCO Heritage Site. You can spend hours there just wandering and I really mean hours. The audio guide by itself takes over four hours.
It's an amazing example of medieval architecture and it witnessed centuries of turbulent history. The Teutonic Order didn't find itself there by accident. They have been invited there by the Lithuanian prince to help fight the pagans - the Prussians - on the border in the region of Masuria.
Instead of leaving the Knights have decided to stay for good, conquer the entire Prussian region and the Polish king couldn't do much as to kick out a catholic bunch without making the pope angry. So he let them stay in hope they won't cause too much trouble. Unfortunately they got land hungry and started taking over villages and cities. By 1283 there were almost no Prussians left. They were so confident they started defying the royal authority by occupying the city of Gdansk and Pomerania. It all culminated in the Battle of Grunwald (1410) which we actually won. From then on their power started declining and by 1521 the monastic state was secularised and their grand master paid homage to the Polish king.
The Polish folk till this day despises the knights. Mainly thanks to a classic book we all have to read at school and the classic film based on it we all have watched.
In any case seeing the castle is a treat to any eyes and for amazing photographs I advise to wait until dusk and go across the bridge - unforgettable!