Hohenfreyberg Castle, together with Eisenberg Castle directly opposite, are situated on a twin-topped, rocky ridge in front of the Tannheim Mountains. The castle was one of the last great castles of the German Middle Ages. Its lord base dit consciously on the – actually anachronistic – design of a high mediaeval hill castle whilst, in other places, the first castles had been abandoned or converted into schloss-like country houses.
Construction on the fortress was started in 1418 by Frederick of Freyberg zu Eisenberg, the eldest son of the eponymous lord of Eisenberg Castle. The work lasted until 1432, the funding coming from the income of the little barony that surrounded it, which the lord had bequeathed in advance of his death.
The walls of the inner bailey with its bergfried-like main tower and large sections of the walls of the outer bailey go back to this first construction phase. The first castle gave the impression of a high mediaeval hilltop castle about 200 years older with an impressive bergfried and two palases. At a time when the nobility were waning and the bourgeois classes were in the ascendancy, Frederick of Freyberg clearly wanted to create a symbol of unbroken aristocratic power. He certainly was certainly influenced by the size and appearance of his ancestral castle which was only five minutes walk away.
The construction and huge maintenance costs forced his sons, George and Frederick of Freyberg-Eisenberg zu Hohenfreyberg and their cousin, George of Freyberg-Eisenberg zu Eisenberg, who also owned estates of the Barony of Hohenfreyberg, to sell the castle in 1484 to Archduke Sigmund of Austria; they also lacked a male heir. The successor to the Archduke, later Emperor Maximilian I, enfeoffed Hohenfreyberg in 1499 to Augsburg merchant, Georg Gossembrot, the Pfleger of the nearby Tyrolean castle of Ehrenberg. He invested heavily in the fortress: the site was fortified militarily and modernised.
The modernization of the fortifications by the castle's vassal lords paid off in 1525 during the German Peasants' War. The Austrian Pfleger was able to ward the rebels off successfully after he had requested reinforcements and soldiers from Innsbruck.
In 1646, towards the end of the Thirty Years' War, the Austrian outposts of Hohenfreyberg, Eisenberg and Falkenstein were set on fire on the orders of the Tyrolean state government. The fortresses were not to fall intact into the hands of the approaching Protestants. However, the attackers changed their line of advance, so their destruction was needless. Since that time, all three castles have remained uninhabited ruins.
After the Battle of Austerlitz, Austria had to cede its Allgäu possessions to Bavaria. The Kingdom of Bavaria sold Hohenfreyberg in 1841 back to the Lords of Freyberg, to whom the castle still belongs today. An extensive renovation started in 1995.
The castle was built mainly in three large construction phases. The original castle (1418-32) was somewhat smaller than the surviving ruins. It consisted of two angled residential buildings in the courtyard, a bergfried-like main tower in the east and a chapel tower. This inner bailey was surrounded by a short enceinte. The crenellated wall of the outer bailey was much lower than today. On the plateau of this outer ward were almost certainly a number of wooden domestic and residential buildings. The original gate of the outer ward was slightly wider, but situated on the same spot as the present entrance. Originally the castle track led around the north and east sides of the castle and met the one coming from the gate in the outer bailey. The gate of the inner ward was originally in the south wall. The outer wall guarded the main entrance in the manner of a gateway zwinger.
In 1456 the two gateways were reinforced. On the west side of the inner bailey a low artillery hut was built, from which an attacking enemy could be fired upon with light firearms. The main gate was expanded into a massive gateway structure.
Between 1486 and 1502 the castle was fundamentally remodelled and strengthened. At the southwest corner of the outer ward the mighty artillery roundel was built. The height of the enceinte was increased and designed with embrasures for arquebuses. The large battery tower guarded the new approach way, which was now on the southern side. The gateway to the inner bailey was moved to the west side and was given a new gate tower. This required the demolition of the northern half of the great west residence or palas, whose rubble was distributed to a depty of a metre in the inner courtyard. As a consequence even the smaller palas had to be remodelled. To the north and east the mighty zwinger systems were built with a semi-circular flanking tower in the far northeast.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.