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The Teutonic Knights

Knights Templars, Poland

Medieval wall painting inside knights templar chapel

Mediaeval wall paintings in the Knights Templar Chapel in Chwarszczany, western Poland.

The Knights Templar were an unorthodox Christian order of warrior monks which had a great influence on the history of Europe in the 12th, 13th and 14th century. The Templars were known for being ferocious in battle and acquired, primarily through donations, vast holdings of land all over Europe. It also accumulated enormous wealth during the time of the crusades. The Knights Templers have been linked with legends about the Holy Grail, treasure, and stories concerning Mary Magdalene. They are often credited with being the first international bankers and the world's first Police force. Some believe that this order of fighting monks evolved with time into the Freemasons. 

The Teutonic Knights Templar undertook their first crusade in Poland in 1325. These crusades to Poland were renewed in 1340, 1343, 1351, 1354, 1355, 1363, and 1369. They established eight main Knight Templar commanderies in Poland; and during the fourteenth century, dozens of towns and about 2000 villages were created in Prussia (present day western and northern Poland) by the Order. The Teutonic Knights also built an impressive fortress headquarters at Marienburg (Malbork), which is today one of the most popular tourist attractions in Poland. Lesser known but equally interesting traces of the Knights presence can still be seen through historic churches, castles and buildings in places like Lesnica, Chwarszczany, Lagow, Rurka, and Torun.

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