Castle The first castle on the site of current 16th century Ballmertshofen castle dates probably from the 12th Century. It is first mentioned in 1236 when Graf (Count) von Dillingen gave the castle to Neresheim Abbey. As a further evidence, in 1987 a cistern from this era was discovered under the south east wall of the castle.
The castle changed hands several times in the following centuries. It was owned by the von Hürnheim family from 1256–1368. Then the von Westerstetten family held the castle from 1368 until 1442. The hospital in Ulm and the von Westernach family held it from 1512 until 1538.
During the middle of the 16th century, the castle was rebuilt as a Schloss (a fortified home rather than a pure defensive structure) by the von Leonrodt family that ruled from 1535 until 1637. In 1637 the von St. Vincent family took over the Schloss. Nearly a century later, in 1749, Johann Rupert von St. Vincent sold the feudal estate and castle to the Princely house of Thurn und Taxis. Until 1851 the castle was used by the princes' Chief Hunter and later as a princely rental property. In 1865 the community of Ballmertshofen received the Schloss, which was used as a school and town hall. Following the beginning of World War II, in 1940, the castle was used as a prisoner of war camp.
In 1959 the school was moved out of the castle to a newly built School. By the 1970s the last renter moved out of the building, leaving it empty. In 1968 the city offices were removed and the severely neglected building was used as a local art gallery. Starting in 1986, a series of renovations took place to clean up and improve the building. At one point the castle had an octagonal tower in the south east corner, but that has been removed.
The Ländliche Bildergalerie or rural living art gallery was opened on 16 April 1978 with the art collection of a Dischingen dentist, Dr. Horst Moeferdt. The collection is open every Sunday from 11 am to 12 pm. The collection includes art from the entire Härtsfeld region and includes a variety of rural art. Religious pictures from the local catholic population include guardian angels, Christ on the Mount of Olives and Madonna with roses. From evangelical areas there are pictures of baptism and of marriage. A center piece of this collection is the Haarbilder, a collection scriptural quotes surrounding flowers made from the hair of children who died young. From the era of the Kaiser, before World War I, the so-called Reservistenbilder (or Reservist pictures) show the call for order and new soldiers for the impending war.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.