Are Castle was built around 1100 by Count Dietrich I of Are and is first recorded in 1121. In 1246 Count Frederick of Hochstaden, provost of Xanten, with the assent of his brother Conrad of Are-Hochstaden gifted the county and its castles - Are, Hardt and Hochstaden – to the Archbishopric of Cologne. Its expansion with a surrounding enceinte was carried out during the period of Electoral Cologne in the 14th and 15th centuries in order to protect the Electorate’s estates in the Ahr region. In the 16th and 17th centuries there were only minor changes to the castle in the form of repairs and replacement buildings. Periodically the castle was also used as a gaol in which the archbishops of Cologne incarcerated their enemies. For a long time Are Castle was a spiritual and cultural centre for the whole area.
Increasingly often, the archbishops of Cologne enfeoffed Are Castle with the district (Amt) of Altenahr. The liegemen were installed as Amtmännern and most of the also lived at the castle.Over a long time the castle fell into a poor state of repair because the vassals did not carry out the necessary work. One exception was the period of Henry of the Horst, who died in 1625.
In 1690 the castle was captured by French troops after a nine month siege. The castle was badly damaged by shelling. In 1697 the French withdrew, but occupied the castle again during the War of the Spanish Succession that began in 1701. In 1706 the castle was taken over by Electoral Cologne forces and the area became unsafe. For this reason Prince Elector Joseph Clemens of Bavaria had the walls blown up in 1714 with the agreement of the villagers. Since then the castle has been a ruin. Reusable materials such as wood and stone were used as construction materials for the rebuilding of the district house (Amtshaus) at the foot of the castle hill.
Since 1965 the Are Gymnasium – a local grammar school – in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler has borne the name which is derived from the castle and its eponymous noble family.
The plan of the castle is rectangular. As well as parts of the outer ward and a gate – the so-called Gymnicher Porz – remains of the defensive wall have survived. In addition, on the southern side of the site, is an old gate tower, as well as the ruins of the palas, which once had a heated bishop’s chamber. The first bergfried probably stood on the pointed dome of rock in its northern corner. North of that are extensive remains of the Romanesque castle chapel dating to the 12th century.
Below Are Castle lie the remains of the Gymnicher Porz, Porz standing for Pforte or 'portal'. This was the lower gateway on the access road to the castle which, in combination with a wall, barred the way to the castle hill. The structure comprised a gatehouse over the access road, an attached castle house (Burghaus), with a basement and two floors housing living accommodation, and an attached tower.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.