Schloss Thorn is a former castle, that has been turned into a stately home. The history of the castle dates from the ancient times. Due to the existence of a ford here, the Romans built a guard tower on a protruding rock here to protect and observe the crossing. This tower would give the later medieval castle its name, the Latin 'turris' meaning 'tower'.
Schloss Thorn was built on the ruins of the probably rectangular, medieval castle guarded by round corner towers. Until the 16th century it was a fief of the lords of Rollingen (hereditary marshals of Luxembourg) to the lords of Bübingen. Then it passed to the ownership of the lords of Musiel, where it remained until the end of the 19th century. It had become decrepit by the end of the 15th century, and was rebuilt in 1536 by the new owner apart from two towers and a part of the defensive wall. In 1800, it was rebuilt by the owning family into more of a stately home and the old defensive buildings were turned into garden terraces.
One of the two towers left after the 16th century renovations, the round tower at the south-eastern corner was destroyed by bombardment in 1945. The second, a rectangular tower that used to be inhabitable, is now a gate tower.
Due to the rebuilding and renovation work carried over hundreds of years, the castle now shows characteristics of the architectural styles of the Middle Ages, through to the Renaissance, Baroque and Empire styles.
Schloss Thorn is still in use as a residence today, owned by the Barons von Hobe-Gelting. The wine is produced from the surrounding vineyards, which have been family-owned since 1534. It is the oldest castle vineyard on the Moselle and also has the only preserved tree wine press of Europe.References:
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.