Grafendahn Castle belongs to the group of castles at Dahn, which also includes Altdahn and Tanstein. Although the three castles are sited next to one another on a rocky ridge, they were not built at the same time.
Grafendahn was built in 1287 by Conrad of Mursel, who was a Lehnsmann or vassal of the bishops of Speyer and a nephew of Frederick of Dahn. The castle was conceived from the outset as a so-called Ganerbenburg - a castle in which several families or family lines lived and worked at the same time. As early as 1288, there were five other heirs, besides Conrad Mursel, who included the counts of Sponheim. In 1339, Count John II of Sponheim purchased all parts of the site from the various parties concerned and thus became the sole owner.
In 1425, the castle defences were strengthened and, in 1437, when the House of Sponheim became extinct on the death of John V, it was transferred by inheritance treaty into the possession of the margraves of Baden. However its defences were not robust enough to withstand a siege by Prince Elector Frederick the Victorious; in 1462 he took the castle and had it slighted. It was clearly not rebuilt in a systematic way. In 1480 Hans von Trotha, who was already the liegeman of Berwartstein Castle, was also given Grafendahn as a fief by the prince elector, and took full ownership in 1485 through purchase. Nevertheless, around 1500, the castle was described as 'uninhabitable'.
Until 1637 the ruined castle belonged to the lords of Fleckenstein. In 1642 it changed hands again and was acquired by the tavern at Waldenburg, where it remained for about 150 years. In 1793 the site went back to the Bishopric of Speyer as Lehnsherr (liege lord), who did not enfeoff it again.
Grafendahn Castle is the smallest of the three Dahn castles and is located on the middle of the five castle rock outcrops. The development of the upper ward is rather unclear today due to its modern parapet walls. In the west of the upper ward are the striking ruins of a shield wall, that was erected facing Tanstein Castle. Parts of it have survived at its original height. It was built of rusticated ashlars. Against the shield wall there was a small palas as well as several domestic buildings.
In the lower ward, which is situated on two narrow rock terraces, several chambers, cattle troughs and a well shaft have survived. The castle museum has been house in a restored stable blockReferences:
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.