Altdahn castle was probably built in the early 13th century. Certainly in 1236 the castle was being run by Frederick of Dahn as a vassal (Lehnsmann) of the Bishop of Speyer who, at that time, was Conrad IV of Dahn and may well have been a relative. The subsequent history of the castle is characterized by many wars and frequent destruction, that was, time and again, followed by rebuilding.
Altdahn was first destroyed in 1363 in the course of a feud between the Dahns and the Fleckensteins. In the end a squire took possession of the castle and carried out temporary repairs. In 1372 it was destroyed again and the squire driven out. In 1406 the castle was destroyed in the War of the Four Lords, which played out from 1405 to 1408 especially in the Bliesgau, 40 kilometres to the west. In 1426 and 1438 the castle caught fire without being caused by any military action.
After two centuries of relative prosperity Altdahn suffered further damage during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48). And right at the start of the War of the Palatine Succession the castle was finally destroyed in 1689 by French troops under General Mélac.
On 11 May 1820 a rockfall occurred, that caused the majority of the remaining ruins to collapse.
On the ridge of the Dahn castle group, which run roughly from east-northeast to west-southwest, Altdahn Castle occupies the two largest, easternmost rock outcrops, which have a total length of about one hundred metres. Its access is in the northeast, where the gateway and a small, water-filled neck ditch have survived. The lower ward is dominated on the north side by a horseshoe-shaped turret and, on the south side, by another tower of similar design.
Other notable remains of the upper ward on the western rock outcrop that have survived, include the north wall of the palas and a watchtower that, from the remains of an oriel, indicate that it may well have been used as a garderobe tower. The southern part of the palas was destroyed in the rockslide of 1820. This also opened the remains of a round cavern, in the rock in the shape of an inverted cone, that has been identified as a cistern or dungeon. On the remains of the eastern side, rusticated ashlar stonework is visible.
The isolated eastern castle rock is accessible over a narrow gangway. It used to support a small tower.
In 1877 the first conservation work was carried out by the Dahn Conservation Society (Dahner Verschönerungsverein) under the Bavarian government. In 1936, during the Nazi era, restoration work was restarted. After an interruption caused by the Second World War they continued from 1960 to the present day.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.