As early as at the end of XIII century, there was a Slavic settlement on the island nearby the place of current Szczecinek Castle. The border nature of the settlement and its excellent defensive qualities contributed to the decision made around the year 1310 by Duke Warcislaw IV to build there a castle. This way the castle of Szczecinek became the seat of Starostes who in the name of the duke held the power here. First of them was Otto von Wedel. At the same time, the settlement on the mainland was awarded town privileges.
The location of the castle in Szczecinek was also affected by building a fortress in Czluchow by the Teutonic Knights and the growing threat from the Teutonic Order and Brandenburg. In 1356, the buildings from the times of Wartislaw IV were dismantled and a new castle was built from the obtained material, this time fully made of bricks. At the very beginning, the castle consisted essentially only of the south wing. The courtyard was surrounded by a wall and all the buildings were settled in a rectangle related plan.
The gate was facing the city, which means it was north-facing. The wooden bridge supported by characteristic piles, known for the later drawings, connected it with the mainland. The construction of the castle was carried out until the year 1364. However, there were a few interruptions. The first one took place when the border of the Teutonic Knights state was moved, as a result of which Szczecinek partly lost its military and strategic importance. However, by the end of XIV century, the works resumed and even another floor of the main wing was built.
The north wing which included the entrance gate was probably built during the expansion carried out in the years 1459-1474, at the times of Duke Eric II. The building had three floors and there was a four-sided tower at the eastern corner. In the years 1606-1610, Duke Philip II rebuilt the south wing giving it a shape typical of Renaissance architecture. In 1619, Duke Ulrich erected in place of the dismantled north wing a new one, which survived until 1801. Another reconstructions took place in 1690 and 1780. The building was also reconstructed several times during XIX and XX century. In 1653 the castle was taken over by Brandenburg and as a result it began to fall into decline. In the years 1780 to 1793 it housed Frederick the Great's abdominal belts manufacture. In the years 1800-1880, in turn, it served as hospital and poorhouse. During World War II, if you believe some stories, the castle was a Gestapo torture chamber in which, among others, soldiers of Battalion 'Odra' were interrogated.
After the war, the army occupied the castle and later it served as Jantarii travel lodge. In 2011, the Municipal Office of Szczecinek began a comprehensive revitalisation of the historic south wing of the castle, which will serve as a training and conference center.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.