Falkenburg Castle is a castle ruin overlooking the village of Wilgartswiesen. It was probably built in the 11th century as a successor to the nearby Wilgartaburg and to protect the adjacent villages. In the documents of Archbishop Erkinbald of Mainz, letters dating to 1019 describe a rock outcrop called the Falkenstein considered as the most northerly border belonging to the principality of Kaiserslautern. Werner I of Bolanden is thought to have begun construction of the castle on this rock in 1125; he was a vassal of Duke Frederick II of Swabia. At the Bolanden family monastery in Hane were records of Sigbold of Falkenstein in 1135; he was one of the first to take the name of the castle for himself. Then in 1233 the imperial ministerialis, Phillip IV of Bolanden, was the first to clearly say that he was from Falkenstein in a legal document.
A Werner of Falkenburg is mentioned among legal documents dating from 1290. From 1300 to 1313 the castle was enfeoffed to Frederick IV of Leiningen. Then in 1317 it was given in fee to Counts Palatine Rudolph II and Rupert I by Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1375, Emich V of Leiningen became the owner of the castle and in 1398 the fiefdom of Falkenstein became its own county.
From 1420, the Bolanded/Falkenstein lineage died out and the counts of Virneburg took over the castle until 1456 when it went into the possession of the counts of Dhaun-Oberstein. In 1458, the Duke of Lorraine took over and became the high feudal lord. The Falkenburg survived the German Peasants' War of 1524–1525. In 1545, with the fall of the empire the House of Austria took over under the charge of the Austrian government in Freiburg.
During the 30 Years' War the castle was captured, first by Spanish troops in 1631, and then again by Swedish troops in 1632, before being finally retaken by troops from Lorraine. The castle was demolished by the French Marshal Schönbeck in 1638. The entire region of Frankenweide was administered from Falkenburg until the castle was destroyed, when it was then moved to Wilgartswiesen. Restoration work on the castle was carried out in the 1930s and 1970.
The bergfried occupied an area of 6.8 by 7.2 metres. Its walls were 1.8 metres thick and its remains 2.5 metres high. The ruins include a cistern, a gatehouse, a rock chamber, living quarters (a palas) and further wall remnants on the castle rock.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.