First mentioned as a fortified complex in 1125 and used as a chapel, Bürgeln was built by local land-owner Lord Werner von Kaltenbach, who subsequently donated all his possessions to the St. Blasien Benedictine monastery. Under monastic control, Bürgeln became the seat of the St. Blasien Provost, the religious representative and church tax collector for the local area, including the convent at Sitzenkirch and the nearby communities of Obereggenen and Marzell. During the peasant's revolt of 1525 the castle was looted. Then in 1556 Charles II Margrave of Baden-Durlach, in whose territory Bürgeln sat, introduced the Reformation, releasing the local communities from the control of the Catholic monastery and its Bürgeln Provost.
In 1689, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the property was severely damaged, and between 1692 and 1698 was left uninhabited. There were several attempts to restore it, but in 1762 the former structures were demolished down to the foundations, and over the next two years Bürgeln was rebuilt as a 'Schloss' - equivalent to an English stately home - designed to represent Catholic power in the midst of a Protestant stronghold.
At the beginning of the 19th century, with revolutionary France ascendant and the Austrian rulers of the Catholic Holy Roman Empire defeated, imperial possessions were secularised. Initial attempts in 1803 to transfer St. Blasien to the Catholic Order of Malta based in Heitersheim were resisted, but following further Austrian defeats at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805, large swathes of Austrian Breisgau were transferred over to the Electorate of Baden.
In 1809 Bürgeln was sold into private ownership. By 1926 Bürgeln had come into the possession of Richard Sichler who renovated the property, adding the terrace on the west side. After his death in 1952, his widow stayed on at the house until 1957, when it was sold to the current owners, the Schloss Bürgeln Association, though the sale did not include the contents, which were sold off separately.
Today the house, authentically refurnished, with a restaurant on site and set in small but beautifully laid out gardens.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.