Mersch Castle is one of the castles belonging to the so-called Valley of the Seven Castles. The castle was built in the 13th century by Theodoric, a knight in the service of Countess Ermesinde of Luxembourg. It was captured and burnt down by the Burgundians. In 1574, Paul von der Veltz transformed the building into a comfortable castle in the Renaissance style. The keep had large windows and the property was surrounded by a protective wall with seven towers. Finely vaulted ceilings were erected over the rooms on the ground floor and the first floor. The Knights' Hall on the second floor has a magnificent chimney. The arms of 16 noblemen decorated the walls. In 1603, the castle was again destroyed by the Dutch. In 1635, during the Thirty Years' War, the castle and the village were left in a sorry state. However, around 1700, it was once again repaired, this time by Johann-Friedrich von Elter who rebuilt the gate and appended his coat of arms. The chapel was restored in 1717 by von Elter. The altar bears the arms of the castle's heiress, Charlotte von Elter.
In 1898, the Sonnenberg-Reinach family sold the castle to a businessman called Schwartz-Hallinger. In 1930, restoration work was carried out by the owner M. Uhres. In 1938, a youth hostel was housed in a new building adjacent to the castle. From 1957, the commune acquired the building but sold it to the State of Luxembourg in 1960. As a result of an exchange agreement, the commune finally regained ownership in 1988 and undertook substantial renovation work for the needs of itse administrative services which now occupy the building.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.