Balga Castle

Gergdauen Castle

Insterburg Castle

Labiau Castle

Neuhausen Castle

Ragnit Castle

Saalua Castle

Taplacken Castle

Waldau Castle




Taplacken Castle...

Taplacken Castle in Taplaki (Gwardiejsk District)

Centuries ago, all around the village of Taplacken (formerly called Dablak), swampy marshes stretched as far as an eye could see. The marshes gave home to cranes, herons, frogs and billions of mosquitoes. Up above in the sky, seagulls and hawks, kings of the air, flew in circles. In winter, dense fog hovered above the swamps. One could think than the whole area was covered with a eiderdown, which preserved the warmth of the earth. This may have been the reason why Baltic Prussians named their tiny village at the edge of the marshes 'taplaken', which meant 'warmth' or 'a warm place'.

Fighting endless wars with Lithuanians, the Teutonic Knights decided to raise a fortress some 56 kilometres off Königberg, which would separate the towns of Tapiau, Norkitten and Wehlau from foreign attacks. In 1336, most probably ordered by the then Grand Marshall of the Teutonic army, Heinrich Dusemer von Arfberg, a 'regular manor' with a watchtower at the main gate and an outer ward was constructed at the mouth of the Neme River.

The stronghold had a regular geometrical shape, which was in accord with the then existing fortification principles. The location of Taplacken was advantageous in many ways. First of all, the town was crossed by the main route from Königsberg, which forked here into two branches: one leading to Tilsit and the other one - to Insterburg. It was also here, in Taplacken, that the shortest route to Labiau and Wehlau had its beginning.

In 1376, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Kęstutis, captured and completely demolished the fortress. After that event, the reconstructed fortress was 'dressed in stone', which made it much stronger and safer. Under the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Albrecht Hohenzollern, the fort was rebuilt to appear more like a small castle. As the time went on, the castle began to resemble a country house. Some twenty-four cottages were built around the castle before 1820. The number of the local population was about 250.

After World War Two, the village of Taplacken was populated by new settlers from the Soviet Union. Its name was then changed to Talpaki, which slightly resembled the original Baltic Prussian name. At present, the remains of Taplacken Castle are visible from the main road leading to the village.

On the trail of the castles in the Baltic Sea region - revitalization and promotion of the objects