Although the first written mention of the Zniev or Turiec Castle (castrum Turuc) is from 1243, archaeological excavations prove the existence of a fortified settlement as early as the 11th – 12th century. According to a document issued in 1253 by King Bela IV the castle was refortified by Ondrej Forgáč, who apart from other loyal deeds managed to save king´s life after the defeat of the royal army by the Tartars near the river Slaná, when he gave a very fast horse to the king to escape.
That is why the legend says the Zniev castle gave refuge to Bela IV from the Tartars. Forgáč had the castle reconstructed and had a new habitable tower called 'Forgač´s tower' built in 1241-1242 in the distance of 250 metres from the castle. In January 1243 the King and the royal family paid visit to the castle. The castle was a seat of the Turiec region form the middle of the 13th century till approx. 1339 when the Turiec County became separated from the Zvolen County and the task of its administrative centre was passed to the Sklabiňa Castle because of its better strategic position. In 1312-1321 the Zniev castle was owned by the powerful noble Matúš Čák of Trenčín.
The castle, however, gradually lost its importance, changed its name from Turiec to Zniev and became the property of the Premonstratesians. In the following period it constantly passed through various owners until it was in 1532 forcefully seized by the royal army after it had fallen, thanks to a betrayal, into the possession of the Kostka family fighting on the side of Ján Zápoľský. At the beginning of the 18th century an archive was kept there.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.