Waldau Castle

Leaving Kaliningrad, go east on Highway E28, towards Gvardeysk; after 17 km (10 mi) make sure you don’t miss the village of Nizovye where Waldau Castle is situated. Linguists say that the castle’s name comes from a Baltic-Slavic word valdati which means “to own”. The first records of the construction of the Waldov fortress date back to 1258. In the 14th century the Teutonic knights built the stone castle of Waldau. In the middle of the 15th century, the castle became a countryside residence of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and when Prussia became a secular state, its ownership passed to the Duke of Prussia. In May 1697, the delegation of Peter the Great’s Grand Embassy stopped here on its way to Europe. A group of enthusiasts has opened a historical museum in the castle and part of its exhibition is dedicated to this event. A table that was found in the castle’s basements and recently restored quite likely was here at the time of Peter’s visit. In addition to the story of the Grand Embassy, the museum includes an exhibition on the German poet Maximilian von Schenkendorf who lived at Waldau in 1805 and on the region’s rich history from the Prussians to the modern day.