Ogrodzieniec Castle is a ruined medieval castle originally built in the 14th–15th century by the W³odkowie Sulimczycy family. Established in the early 12th century, during the reign of Boles³aw III Wrymouth, the first stronghold was razed by the Tatars in 1241. In the mid-14th century a new gothic castle was built here to accommodate the Sulimczycy family. Surrounded by three high rocks, the castle was well integrated into the area. The defensive walls were built to close the circuit formed by the rocks, and a narrow opening between two of the rocks served as an entrance.
In 1470 the castle and lands were bought by the wealthy Cracovian townsmen, Ibram and Piotr Salomon. Then, Ogrodzieniec became the property of Jan Feliks Rzeszowski, the rector of Przemy¶l and the canon of Cracow. The owners of the castle about that time were also Jan and Andrzej Rzeszowskis, and later Pilecki and Che³miñski families. In 1523 the castle was bought by Jan Boner. After his death, the castle passed to his nephew, Seweryn Boner, who replaced the medieval stronghold with a renaissance castle in 1530–1545.
In 1562 the castle became the property of the Great Marshal of the Crown Jan Firlej, as a result of his marriage with Zofia- the daughter of Seweryn Boner. Later on, in 1587, the castle was captured by the arms of the Austrian archduke Maximilian III, the rejected candidate to the Polish-Lithuanian throne. In 1655, it was partly burnt by the Swedish troops, who -deployed here for almost two years- destroyed the buildings considerably. From 1669 on, the castle belonged to Stanis³aw Warszycki, the Cracow"s castellan, who managed to partly rebuild the castle after the Swedish devastations.
About 1695 the castle changed hands once again becoming the property of the Mêciñski family. Seven years later, in 1702, over a half of the castle had burnt down in the fire set by the Swedish troops of Charles XII. After the fire, it was never to be rebuilt. About 1784 the castle was purchased by Tomasz Jakliñski, who did not care for its condition. Consequently, the last tenants left the devastated castle about 1810. The next owner of the Ogrodzieniec Castle was Ludwik Koz³owski, who used the remains of the castle as a source of building material and sold out the castle"s equipment to the Jewish merchants.
The last proprietor of the castle was the neighbouring Wo³oczyñski family. After the Second World War, the castle was nationalized. The works aimed at preserving the ruins and opening them to the visitors were started in 1949 and finished in 1973.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.