PAP, 10 października 2009 r., The site of Straduny castle located in Mazury

The site, where the medieval castle of the Teutonic knights has been located in Straduny (Warmińsko-Mazurskie region) by Robert Klimek, a Ph.D. student from Olsztyn. Locating the castle was possible thanks to early 19th century sketches by a Prussian lieutenant.

Straduny is a small town located between Ełk and Olecko. „In medieval times, in the 15th and 16th century the town played a similar role as Ełk and Giżycko do today. This was the headquarters of the local governors” – Prof. Grzegorz Białuński from the Scientific Research Center in Olsztyn told PAP. The Professor points out, that historians couldn’t locate where the castle stood, so Klimko’s discovery is significant.

Today there are no traces of the Straduny castle, and its site is overgrown by bushes. But as Klimek assures – „there are still relicts that allow us to identify its location”.

„The moat is still existing, and there is even water in them. Their width is between 3 to 5 meters. The Eastern section of the moat currently serves as a drainage ditch. In the central part of the castles courtyard today stands a small, half a meter tall mound, this is where a lot of brick dust was discovered. What is even more interesting is that scientists found in the molehills many fragments of bricks and pottery” – Klimek told PAP.

There are no comments about the Straduny castle in literature. Klimek admitted, that he located the castle thanks to sketches made by a Prussian officer Johann Guise, who between 1826 and 1828 created an inventory of medieval defense systems of the Prussian lands. According to the lieutenant the castle was located on the right bank of the river Ełk, opposite the church. Guise said that in the main entrance was built in the southern part of the castle, and the building was constructed on the plan of a 32 by 33 meter square.

Klimek says, that he discovered documents in German archives stating, that in 1513 a Graf resided in the Straduny castle. In those times, the town was the capital of a county. When the Teutonic knights order fell in 1525 the castle was governed by the starosta of Straduny. In 1560 the town of Olecko was founded, which slowly took over the role of the county’s capital. Since then the meaning of Straduny and its castle started to diminish. „It is possible that the castle was taken down in the early 19th century, and its bricks were reused as a building material” – said Klimek.

Klimek plans to make a presentation about the Straduny castle in December. JWO

PAP – Science and Scholarship in Poland, tr. ajb