Chimay Castle has been owned by the Prince of Chimay and his ancestors for centuries, and it is open to the public for tours during part of the year. Although the castle was significantly damaged by a fire in 1935, the structure was subsequently rebuilt, and renovations continue under the current generation of the princely family.
Chimay Castle, the home of the Princes of Chimay for many generations, is an ancient stronghold, which some documents suggest may be as old as the year 1000. Through the years, the medieval bastion became a fortress. In the 15th century, the castle was altered: five new towers were linked by corridors to the keep, to increase its defensive potential. Over the centuries, the castle was damaged by many wars, looters and pillagers. Finally, in 1935, a fire destroyed much of what was left, including many irreplaceable works of art. Despite the damage, the princely family decided to rebuild the structure, and repairs have continued since that time.
Initially, writings relate the presence of the town of Chimay in the 11th century, though the settlement may have existed already in the 9th century. An act dating from 1065 and 1070 reveals the presence of Gauthier de Chimay. The strategic position of crossing the Eau Blanche river is a logical explanation for the establishment of an important family on the promontory.
The history of the castle of Chimay is rather vague during the Middle Ages; it seems that the Chimay branch became extinct in 1226. The land then passed to the control of the Counts of Soissons, who held it until 1317, when the castle of Chimay was owned by the Count of Hainaut, then of Blois. Around 1445, it was bought by Jean II de Croÿ from Philip the Good.
Jean II de Croÿ was exiled by Charles the Bold in 1465 and pardoned by him in 1473, leaving descendants of the line of Croÿ to lead the new county of Chimay. The place was at the height of its power in the 15th century: in 1486, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, erected Chimay into a principality. Unfortunately, waves of invading Austrian and French troops successively undermined the citadel.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.