Neuhausen Castle

From Chernyakhovsk — the itinerary’s easternmost point — drive back to Kaliningrad and circling it from the north-east, go to Guryevsk to take a look at a well-restored Protestant Church and a relatively well-preserved castle. The Teutonic knights who appeared here at the end of the 13th century destroyed the Prussian settlement Wurgwal. Local legend has it that the colossal oak tree that stands near the castle was here in the times of Pagan Prussians.

The Neuhausen Castle, built on a bastion of boulders, protected the eastern borders of the Teutonic Order’s territories but didn’t take any real part in the political life of the order. In the first half of the 16th century, the Order’s last Grand Master, the reformist Albert, Duke of Prussia (1490-1568), made the Neuhasen his countryside residence. A small zoo was built near the castle and the building itself was updated with Renaissance fireplaces, furniture and upholstery; a new kitchen and household buildings were set up in the northern wing of the castle. After numerous reconstructions, this wing of the castle is the oldest. Neuhausen still has its 13th-century basements and you can see the Gothic ceilings on the first and second floors. The castle acquired a certain notoriety in the German lands thanks to the passionate hunter, the Elector of Brandenburg and the Duke of Prussia Georg Wilhelm (1595-1640). To entertain his guests at Neuhausen, the elector ordered special wine cups in the form of powder flasks and muskets. After drinking from such generous vessels, the guests had to write a poem in the host’s album and leave their signatures. Many failed the task hilariously.

In mid-19th century, the castle’s owners decided to fill the castle moats with soil and the arrow-slits with bricks. They replaced the drawbridge with a regular one and landscaped the park. The hunting castle was turned into a resort.