The Royal Palace was originally a palace of the Prussian monarchy and today it houses the city museum. Initially a Baroque palace of Heinrich Gottfried von Spätgen, chancellor of Bishop Francis Louis of Neuburg, it was built in 1717 in a Viennese style. In 1750, after Prussia took control over Silesia in the First Silesian War, the palace was purchased by the Prussian king Frederick the Great and was converted into his residence. The palace was extended from 1751 to 1753 in the Baroque style with Rococo interiors designed by the royal architect Johann Boumann. Boumann's additions included a transverse wing with a festive hall, throne hall and Frederick the Great's private quarters.
The successor of Frederick the Great, who died in 1786, was his nephew Frederick William II of Prussia (1744–1797). He performed remodelling of the royal palace according to the design of Karl Gotthard Langhans (1732–1808). The remodelling took place in 1795 to 1796 in the classical style. As a result, the wings surrounding the northern courtyard, a new staircase and utility rooms were added.
In March 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition with Napoleon, King Frederick William III of Prussia announced two famous manifestos: 'To My People' and “To My Military Commanders”. On April 1813, in the Yellow Living Room of the Palace, the king proclaimed the Iron Cross as a war medal.
In the middle of the 19th century, drawing on a Florentine Renaissance style, architect Friedrich August Stüler added a new southern wing (1844–1846) and a new courtyard wings along with the gate and railing (1858). In 1918 the palace was donated to the city of Breslau. On 20 September 1926 the Palace Museum (Schlossmuseum) was opened, displaying an exposition devoted to Frederick the Great, reconstruction of original interiors, and a collection of Silesian art.
In May 1945 the palace was heavily damaged during the siege of the city at the end of the Second World War. Breslau was transferred from Germany to Poland after the war and renamed Wrocław. In the 1960s the palace was partially demolished, while the remaining wings were adapted to host the Archeological Museum (until 1999) and the Ethnographic Museum (until 2004). In 2008 a renovation was finished and a new museum was established, presenting 1,000 year history of Wrocław.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.