Ostrogski Palace site was bought by Prince Janusz Ostrogski in early 17th century. As the area had been still a suburb of Warsaw and exempted from the laws of the city which prevented the inhabitants from building private fortifications, Ostrogski decided to build a small castle there. For that he financed a bastion on which the manor was to be constructed. However, it was not until after his death that the manor itself was started. Designed by Tylman of Gameren, the palace built on top of the bastion was to become one of the wings of a huge future palace. However, it was never completed and was bought by deputy chancellor of the crown Jan Gniński, who turned it into his seat.
In 1725 the palace was bought by yet another magnate family, the Zamoyski, who made it a seat of their jurydyka. However, as the unfinished manor lacked many features of an 18th-century magnate palace, it never served its original purpose and with time became neglected. Since 1778 it was divided onto small flats and started serving as a hostel for students, owned by Marcin Nikuta. Converted into a military hospital by the French in 1806, between 1812 and 1817 it was abandoned and gradually fell into disrepair. During the November Uprising it was bought by the Polish government and refurbished to become a military hospital once again. Turned over to civilian authorities in 1836, it continued to be a hospital until 1859, when it was bought by the Musical Institute. It was there that both Stanisław Moniuszko and Ignacy Jan Paderewski received their education. In late 19th century an additional story was added and in 1913 a new, much larger seat for the Institute was built adjacent to the palace.
Destroyed by the Germans in the effect of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, the building had been rebuilt by Mieczysław Kuzma between 1949 and 1954, while the ruins of the 1913 construction were demolished.
The Fryderyk Chopin Museum at the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw was established in the 1930s. At that time, thirteen valuable manuscripts were purchased from Ludwika Ciechomska, granddaughter of Ludwika Jędrzejewicz, Chopin's sister, and Bogusław Kraszewski. The creation of a Collection of Photographs, Recordings and a Library was started prior to 1939.
In 1945, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute opened again in Warsaw, and was housed at first in Zgoda Street and from 1953 in Ostrogski Castle. This was also the home of the Museum, Library and Collections of Photographs and Recordings. The museum covers the history and works Chopin, including original manuscripts and documents written by the composer, photographs and sculptures of him, letters, as well as hosting piano recitals and competitions of Chopin's works. The rich plafonds, stucco and Pompeian style frescoes are a fitting setting for the rooms of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum.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.