In the 12th century, a fortress was located at Breda. The city of Breda came into existence near the fortress. In 1350, the Duke of Brabant sold Breda to Jan II of Polanen (Baron of Breda). He reinforced the castle with four towers and a channel. His daughter Johanna of Polanen married in 1403 the German Duke Engelbert I of Nassau. Their son Jan IV of Nassau enlarged the castle.
Henry III of Nassau-Breda changed the castle into a Renaissance palace in 1536. He died in 1538 and his son René of Châlon finished the castle and built a chapel in 1540. René of Châlon died without any children and the castle became property of his German cousin, William I of Orange, during his battle with the Spanish, it had a military function again (Dutch revolt).
In 1667 the Treaty of Breda was signed by England, France and the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. This ended the second English-Dutch war. Stadtholder - King William III of England rebuilt the castle between 1686 and 1695. But he and his successors did not stay much at the castle.
In the France time (18th century), the castle was a military barracks and military hospital. Between 1746 and 1748 it was the site of the Breda Peace Talks between Britain and France during the War of the Austrian Succession. The talks formed the foundation for the eventual peace settlement at Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
William I of the Netherlands placed at disposal of the Royal Military Academy in 1826. In this time, Thomas Vincidor built three wings and later William II built the fourth wing. The entrance gate is from the 16th century. Today Breda castle is used by Koninklijke Militaire Academie, the service academy for the Dutch Army and the Dutch Air Force.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.