Ansembourg Old Castle is one of the castles belonging to the Valley of the Seven Castles. Located high above the little village of Ansembourg, the medieval castle is the private residence of the current Count and Countess of Ansembourg.
The property is first mentioned in 1135 when the lord of the castle was Hubert d'Ansembourg. The fortifications were probably built in the middle of the 12th century. At the beginning of the 14th century, the south-western tower gate and the northern keep appear to have been built by Jofroit d'Ansembourg. Since the times of Jakob II de Raville-Ansembourg, the castle does not appear to have been significantly altered. The main entrance bears the date of 1565. In 1683, the castle was damaged by the French troups of Marshal de Boufflers. In the 17th century, repairs were carried out by the Bidart and the Marchant et d'Ansembourg families who built the New Castle of Ansembourg.
Today the castle is owned by Count Gaston-Gaëtan de Marchant et d'Ansembourg who moved into the property after the death of his father. At the end of 2008, the Luxembourg government acquired the family's library (around 6000 books) and were offered the family archives. Interest had grown in the collection after the Codex Mariendalensis manuscript telling the story of Yolanda of Vianden was found in 1999 by the linguist Guy Berg. The manuscript dating from the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century was especially significant as it was written in the Moselle Franconian dialect which is closely related to modern Luxembourgish.
The castle is strictly private property and is not open to visitors. Recently, the Count of Ansembourg opened a very exclusive boutique hotel, in one of the buildings surrounding the castle.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.