The Malbork Castle is an example of the subjugation of a historical monument and its conservation to ideological goals. After the first partition of Poland in 1772 Malbork found itself within the borders of the Prussian monarchy. The castle, up to then never intentionally destroyed, was pulled down and re-designed. The devastation was halted in 1803 thanks to the propaganda campaign launched by young German Romantics. Since 1817 the tide of patriotic upheaval favoured the castle's restoration, transforming Malbork into a national sanctuary of Prussia. Supervision over the work was entrusted to Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The architecture of the first stage in the restoration of Malbork was typical for Romantic historicism and linked Classical composition schemes with a neo-Gothic appearance. In the wake of the unification of Germany in 1871 the castle was to symbolise the German military 'Drang nach Osten' trend and comprise one of the monuments of the revived empire. From 1855 the castle was fortified, thus restoring its status of a fortress within the defensive system of Eastern Prussia. The second stage of the work (1882-1922) was steered by Conrad Emmanuel Steinbrecht, who adhered to the purist spirit represented by Viollet-le-Duc. The intention was to change the castle into an idealized symbolic seat of the Teutonic Knights. Only traces remain of Steinbrecht's work, destroyed in 1945, but we owe the present-day shape of Malbork to his vision. Taking into consideration the historical context of the existence and annihilation of the castle, the decisions of the Polish authorities concerning its reconstruction reflect an astoundingly pragmatic approach and far-sightedness. They became part of the Polonisation and re-Polonisation of monuments of value from the propaganda viewpoint and obtained due to the altered shape of the territory of the Polish state in 1945. In this respect, contemporary Malbork remains an ideological monument fulfilling political functions. From the technical and conservation viewpoint the remnants of mediaeval and nineteenth-century architecture have been reintegrated and restored. Today, these salvaged remnants contain the value and authenticity of Malbork as a monument of European culture. All other components are contemporary supplements, which, however, are already assuming the status of monuments. They carry a clear-cut message and deserve to be protected against the pseudo-conservation and architectural neo-historicism, inspired by political and economic conditions, which results in the devastation of monuments or their reduction to the level of tawdry and media-oriented attractions.
dr inż. arch. jest adiunktem na Wydziale Architektury Politechniki Gdańskiej. Dziedzinami jego zainteresowań są przede wszystkim nowożytna architektura obronna – zarówno jako przedmiot badań historyczno-architektonicznych, jak i działań konserwatorskich – oraz współczesna teoria konserwacji zabytków. Z problematyką historii architektury oraz ochrony i konserwacji zabytków związana jest również jego praktyka zawodowa architekta. Członek Polskiego Komitetu Narodowego ICOMOS oraz Stowarzyszenia Konserwatorów Zabytków.
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