Ragnit Castle (Lith. Ragainė) is situated in the very centre of Neman City. It was built by the Teutonic Knights in 1397-1409. Construction works were supervised by the Master of the Teutonic Order Konrad Fellenstein of Marienburg.
A stone-and-brick fortress was raised, surrounded with a moat and an embankment, which formed an enclosed square. The size of the inner ward was about 1,000 square meters.
The history of Ragnit Castle
Order Castle of the Ragnit Fortress is an Order’s fortress situated in Neman, Kaliningrad Region. In 1289, the knights of the Teutonic Order built their own Landeshut fortress where the Raganita fortress captured by Prussians once stood.
Later, the Prussian name transformed into Ragnit returned to the fortress. The fortress consisted of several sites. The castle was located above a cliff with a height of more than 40 m. The size of the fortress was 109×50 m. In front of the fortress, there were several foremost defense constructions separated by graffs from each other.
In the 13th-14th centuries, the Lithuanian detachments repeatedly attacked the fortress. Sometimes, they managed to seize and destroy the fortress. These Lithuanian attacks forced the Teutonic Order to build a stone fortress of impressive size.
In its construction (1397-1409) the architect Nikolaus Fellenstein took part, who also erected a fortress in Tilsit. Thirty masters from different towns of Prussia were attracted to participate in the construction, and many local residents were mobilized. The main building of the castle was built of brick in a Gothic masonry manner, it had a size of 59×59 m.
The inner yard made 575 sq. meters, the height of the main storey reached 12 meters, the height of the first defensive storey made 2 meters, the thickness of the external walls made 3 meters.
On the stream near the castle, there was made a dam and a pond, where a mill was built. Then the construction of a new forburg began. By the moment of finishing the construction of the castle, it became a huge four-outhouses structure with the gates to the West. Along the perimeter of the yard a two-srorey gallery was built, the castle was surrounded by auxiliary buildings. Later an adjacent square tower 25 m high was built.
The High Magister of the Teutonic Order Ulrih fon Jungingen arrived at the solemn procedure of blessing the castle. The district comtur and the local administative services were situated in the castle; after the liquidation of the Order in 1525 there was the residence of the District Manager there.
In the first half of the XVIII century, the castle lost its military purpose, the dam was knocked down, the defensive wall was dismantled. At the beginning of the XIXth century, the defense construction was destroyed. The castle was used as a prison, which resulted in a considerable inside reconstruction. In 1828 the castle burned away. After the fire it was again reconstructed: in addition to the prison, the court institutions settled there.
After 1945 the castle was practically safe. The part of the premises was used as storages and the yard became a town market. But in the course of time the castle was deserted and began to ruin. Films about the war times were made on its background.
By the middle of the 1960ies, many structures of the castle were already in an emergency condition. Around the castle there appeared utility buildings of the local citizens, the bricks of the walls being taken as construction materials. Nowadays the ruins only are left, with the exception of the observation tower. The further destiny of the castle is not so far clear. In 2002 the partial conservation work was carried out.