Erbach Castle is a patrician Renaissance castle which origins date back to the 12th century. The purpose of the castle was to secure and safeguard the important crossing over the river Danube. The keep was built during the reign of the House of Hohenstaufen and explicitly mentioned in a document from 1384. The Gothic spire was added at the end of the 15th century. The original modest Romanesque castle was extended in the 16th century into a renaissance palace. In 1525 during the German Peasants' War the castle was damaged by revolting farmers of the Baltringer Haufen.
Hans von Paumgarten, a patrician from Augsburg, was enfeoffed with Erbach Castle in 1534. His heir, Hans Georg von Paumgarten, started works to rebuild the castle on a large scale in 1550: two wings alongside each other on top of large vaulted basement rooms, three storeys high with four more levels under the roofs. The works were completed in 1555, ruining Hans Georg von Paumgarten.
In 1612 Hans Ludwig of Ulm became lord of Erbach. During the Thirty Years' War Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, one of the foremost Protestant generals, resided at Erbach Castle in 1633. Following a prolonged period of occupation by Swedish troops, the castle was left in an uninhabitable state. After the Thirty Years' War a pleasure garden, non-existent today, was added to the castle. The last substantial alterations to the castle were carried out in the first half of the 18th century. In 1902 the castle was decorated in neo-baroque style.
Erbach Castle was inspired by the architectural style employed by patricians of the larger cities, evidence for which are crow-stepped gables and the gabled roofs. Entrance to the castle is via a drawbridge, followed by a gate. The castle courtyard is surrounded by mews and outbuildings. In the courtyard there is a hand-drawn water well. The Baroque castle chapel is situated at the end of the main hall.
The so-called Renaissance Room was altered in 1884 for the last time; other rooms worth mentioning are the Small Smoking room, the Maria-Theresia-Drawing room, the Brown Drawing room, the Red Drawing room and the Clerical Drawing room.
Erbach Castle is still in private hands, owned by the barons of Ulm-Erbach who also run the castle museum. Parts of the castle are used as a restaurant while the basement houses a theatre.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.