The village of Będzin originated in the 9th century. The local wooden fort, that the records show existed as early as the 11th century, was destroyed during the Tatar invasion in 1241 and subsequently rebuilt.
During the reign of Casimir III the Great the castle received an upgrade from wooden fortress to a stone one, and the stone fort was operational as early as in 1348. The growing trading village of Bytom was given Magdeburg Law city rights shortly afterwards, in 1358.
The castle was meant to be a military outpost on the southwestern border of the Kingdom of Poland (later, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). It was the most westward fortification, and was meant to hold off any invasion coming to Lesser Poland from Bohemian or Silesian lands. In 1364 the castle was visited by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1588, Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria, was held prisoner in here, after his defeat in the War of the Polish Succession (1587–1588).
The castle fell into disrepair in the late 16th century. The fire of 1616 and damage during The Deluge in 1657 resulted in the further destruction. The fortress was periodically repaired, but due to shifts in the layout of the borders and relations between Poland and its neighbours, it lost much of its importance. After the partitions of Poland, Będzin fell into Prussian control and the castle became property of the Hohenzollern family. In 1807, the nearby lands were transferred to the Duchy of Warsaw, and in 1815, to the Congress Poland. In 1825 the castle was virtually falling apart, and when a piece of the stone crushed a passerby, demolition of the castle was ordered, but before it was started, the castle was declared a monument. In the 1830s the castle was bought by Count Edward Raczyński and partially rebuilt, with a Protestant church temporarily housed inside, but after Raczyński's death in 1845 plans to open an academy or a hospital there were abandoned, and the castle once again fell into disrepair.
The castle was not rebuilt again until the times of People's Republic of Poland, when in 1952–1956, a museum was opened there.
The castle became the site of a museum, Zagłębie Museum in 1956. The museum has several collections: one of armament, from medieval to World War II times; second dedicated to the history of the Będzin Castle; third to the castles of the other nearby castles founded by Casimir the Great (Eagle Nests Trail or Szlak Orlich Gniazd) and the final one, to the military history of the Będzin region.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.