Ojców Castle was part of a system of castles known as the Eagle's Nests - formerly protecting the southern border of the Kingdom of Poland. Currently it houses a museum dedicated to the castle in its renovated castle-tower. The castle was used as a stronghold, built by Casimir III the Great in the second half of the 14th century.
A legend mentions, that the caste was built by the Duke of Wrocław Wiesław I, Popiel's brother-in-law, however te first recorded information about the castle comes from the fourteenth century - linking up with King Casimir III the Great, who used the castle as part of his defensive line against the Kingdom of Bohemia and the south. The King was called the castle in honour of his father, Władysław I Łokietek, calling it Father by the Rock. In 1665 the stronghold was taken over by the Swedes, which they partially burned and deconstructed. The House of Koryciński, who owned the castle, had renovated it, and built additional living quarters. Various battles throughout the oncoming centuries had caused the castle to be shifted between different owners. Causing the castle to go through several cycles of renovation and deconstruction, currently the castle stands as the picturesque, and renovated ruin.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.