Our journey is coming slowly to an end. We now stop for a while in Gutko­wo, which is currently part of Olsztyn. There is the St. Lawrence church and it is from here that Napoleon observed the movements of the Prussian-Russian army on the first days of February 1807.
The journey along the Copernican Route ends in Olsztyn, which was also associated with the great astronomer. The Castle of the Chapter of Warmia on the Łyna River had been built before Olsztyn was granted the city rights in 1353. It is the most powerful structure erected by the chapter. Initially, it consisted of a northern and southern wing as well as of the corner tower. The first stage of construction ended probably around 1370. The tower was elevated considerably in the 16th century, at the same time changing its shape from square to round. The last, third wing was added to the castle during the baroque period. The canon administrator lived in the northern wing and the refectory was used as a meeting place. The southern wing was the place where the burgrave, the steward and estate inspectors lived. The kitchen, larder, brewery and bakery were situated in the castle’s ground floor. Nicolaus Copernicus lived in the castle from 1516 to 1520 and from November 1520 to June 1521, when he was in Olsztyn as the chapter administrator. His duties included organising defence of the town, and especially of the castle, and settling in newcomers. In January 1521, Copernicus was the successful commander of the town defences and he wrote letters to the king asking for reinforcements. In the meantime, the astronomer carried on his observations. In the castle galleries, one can still see a diagram of the equinox – the phenomenon that Copernicus studied throughout the period of his stay in Olsztyn. Also during the period he prepared two treatises on monetary issues and the first sketches of the work of his life: “De revolutionibus”.
When in Olsztyn, one must not miss the concathedral basilica dedicated to St. James the Apostle. Its construction started in the 14th century but it was not completed until the 16th. The church was built on a rectangular plan with an unseparated chancel and the massive tower within the main rectangle. There are chapels on both sides, on extensions of the aisles. Above the nave there is a lattice vault, spanning between suspended domes; side aisles are covered with crystal vaults. Unfortunately, the Gothic interior was destroyed by Russian prisoners of war, who burned anything they could to prevent from freezing to death. The dominant style of the interior is neo-Gothic, although some other items have survived, including the Gothic-Renaissance ciborium in the wall next to the high altar, a baroque font made of black marble, a crucifix from 1680, the renaissance triptych and sculptures of St. James and St. Andrew from the 15th century.