Olsztyn belonged to the dominion of the Warmian cathedral chapter in Frombork and was granted municipal rights in 1353 by the chapter.

In the Middle Ages Olsztyn was one of the most important centres of power of the Prince Bishopric of Warmia within the State of the Teutonic Order, being the seat of one of the three administrative units subject to the cathedral chapter, which, together with the administrative units directly subordinate to the bishop, formed the Prince Bishopric.

Today Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship. The glorious past of the city is well reflected in the Brick Gothic buildings of the Old Town – the Castle of the Warmian Cathedral Chapter, St. James’ Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, the High Gate and the remains of the fortified walls. The medieval road network is still visible today.