The Spyker (Spycker) Castle and estate is the oldest profane structure on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. Spycker was first recorded in 1318. It belonged then to the Stralsund patrician family von Külpens. In 1344 a daughter from the House of von Külpen married the Jasmunds. As a result the Spyker branch of the von Jasmunds was founded which died without issue in 1648.
As a result of the Thirty Years' War, Pomerania, and hence Rügen, fell to Sweden under the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. As a reward for his wartime services, Queen Christine of Sweden gave the now empty seat of Spycker in 1649 to the Swedish field marshal and later governor-general of Swedish Pomerania, Carl Gustav Wrangel. The castle, originally furnished with a defensive moat, was remodelled after 1650 into its present appearance as a Renaissance schloss and painted in Swedish Falu red, which was atypical of Rügen. Fully sculptured stucco ceilings, unique in the Baltic region, date to around 1652.
After the death of Carl Gustav Wrangel in 1676, the property passed to his daughter Eleanora-Sophia, wife of the Lord of Putbus. Eleanora-Sophia died in 1687, and the property went to the Swedish family of Brahe, with whom her older sister was connected by marriage. After its occupation by the Napoleonic troops in 1806/07 Spycker temporarily became the seat of the French governor of Rügen. In 1815, Rügen, which had hitherto been Swedish, was handed over to Prussia. Magnus Fredrik Brahe sold Spycker in 1817 and it came into the possession of Prince Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus.
Until the land reform in the Soviet Occupation Zone in 1945, the estate remained in the possession of the von Putbus family. In subsequent years, the castle was left to decay. From the 1960s until 1989, the East German trade union federation, FDGB, used the castle as a holiday home. Since 1990, the castle has been used as a hotel and, in 1995, it was restored in line with its historical appearance. The hotel has 32 guest rooms.
In March 2006, the castle and its 67,000-square-foot estate was purchased at a forced sale by the present owner Dominik von Boettinger. Today Spyker Castle is a hotel and restaurant.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.