Elmstein Castle was built in the 12th century as a Palatine castle in order to guard the route through the valley. The feoffees held the title of Schenk, a German aristocratic title that originally meant cup bearer. The castle occupied by the Electorate of the Palatinate. Between 1220 and 1230, the lower curtain wall was built. Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria ceded the castle to his cousin, the Count Palatine. From 1419 to 1437, the castle was occupied by Count John V of Sponheim. In 1466, the castle was enfeoffed by Frederick I the Elector, to Erhard of Remchingen. In 1513, in the course of changes of ownership, Henry of Pagk was given the castle as a fief. During the German Peasants' War in 1525 the castle was damaged. Count Palatine John Casimir inherited the castle in 1576. The castle was also damaged during the Thirty Years' War in 1648. In 1689, during the War of the Palatine Succession, the castle fell into a permanent state of disrepair. Since then, the castle has been in private ownership.
The remains of the parts of the original curtain walls, the palas and the shield wall are still able to be seen today.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.