Altleiningen castle was built on the domed summit of a hill, about 400 metres high, that rises above the left bank of the Eckbach. The name, like that of its sister castle, Neuleiningen 5 kilometres northeast, is derived from the Frankish noble family of Leiningen, who used to rule the territory of the Leiningerland.
The mighty hill fortress is built on rocks and was probably established around 1100 to 1110 by the Count of Leiningen, Emich I, and his son, Emich II, under the name of Leiningen Castle. The overall castle site, which follows the shape of the hilltop, has a triangular ground plan. Of the original caste, only a few wall remains on the west side have survived. The outer ward was surrounded by its own moat and by a main ditch hewn out of the rock, over which there was a drawbridge that separated it from the actual castle. Two kilometres to the south of the castle, Emich II founded Höningen Abbey around 1120.
During the peasants' uprising in 1525 the castle suffered its first destruction. The present site is based on its rebuilding in the Renaissance style, beginning in 1528, by counts Cuno II, Philip I, Louis and John Casimir. Its reconstruction required the local farmers to render socage.
Around 1600 a gallery was driven deep into the rock below the castle in order to obtain a supply of water. The 20-Pipe Well is today the biggest source of water for the Eckbach.
In 1690 the castle was destroyed again, this time for good, during the War of the Palatine Succession by French troops. Thereafter it was used as a quarry until the mid-19th century when this was banned by the government of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Until 1933 the terrain remained in the hands of the counts of Leiningen (Leiningen-Westerburg-Altleiningen line), before it was procured by the county of Frankenthal. In 1962 the ruins were listed and the schloss wing rebuilt in the six years that followed. In doing so they incorporated the wall remains on the western side.
In 1968 a youth hostel was integrated into the partially rebuilt castle. This was completely modernized between 1998 and 2000. As part of this renovation the castle was given a gable roof again; previously it had had a flat, 1960s-style roof. The great hall is used as a dining room; another guest room is the Burgschänke pub with its summer terrace. The main moat has been converted into a public open air swimming pool.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.