History of Germany between 844 AD - 918 AD
In medieval historiography, East Francia or the Kingdom of the East Franks forms the earliest stage of the Kingdom of Germany, lasting from about 840 until about 962. East Francia was formed out of the division of the Carolingian Empire after the death of Emperor Louis the Pious.
In August 843, after three years of civil war following the death of Louis the Pious, the Treaty of Verdun was signed by his three sons and heirs. His namesake, Louis the German, received the eastern portion of mostly Germanic-speaking lands. The kingdom of West Francia went to Louis's younger half-brother Charles the Bald and between their realms a kingdom of Middle Francia, incorporating Italy, was given to their elder brother, the Emperor Lothair I. While West and Middle Francia contained the traditional Frankish 'heartlands', the East consisted mostly of lands only annexed to the Frankish empire in the eighth century. These included the duchies of Alemannia, Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, as well as the northern and eastern marches with the Danes and Slavs.
The external threat from marauding Vikings in the west and from Magyars in the east aggravates an already grave internal problem for the feudal dynasties of Charlemagne's descendants. Feudalism, with its decentralization of military and territorial power, has at the best of times a tendency to foster regional independence. In periods of crisis, when the regions need to be well armed if they are to repel invaders, it is almost inevitable that the feudal holders of large tracts of frontier territory grow in strength until they are capable of challenging their own king. Baronial contenders upset the succession to the throne in the west Frankish kingdom from the late 9th century and in the eastern kingdom a few years later.
In 911 the east Frankish king Louis the Child died without a male heir. The only legitimate claimant within the Carolingian dynasty is Charles III, ruler of the west Frankish kingdom. Rather than do homage to him, and reunite the empire of Charlemagne, the eastern Franks and the Saxons elected one of their own number to the vacant throne. Conrad, the duke of Franconia, became the German king. Although not of the Carolingian line, Conrad is nevertheless a Frank. But on his death the Franks and the Saxons together elect a Saxon king. In 919 Henry I becomes the founder of the Saxon, or Ottonian, dynasty.
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.