Blutenburg Castle is an old ducal country seat in the west of Munich. The castle was built between two arms of the River Würm for Duke Albert III, Duke of Bavaria in 1438–39 as a hunting-lodge, replacing an older castle burned down in war. The origin of this castle is a moated castle of the 13th century. The core of this castle was a residential tower, the remains of which were uncovered in 1981. The fortress was first mentioned in writing only in 1432.
Albert's son, Duke Sigismund of Bavaria, ordered extensions of the castle beginning in 1488; he died here in 1501. The main building became derelict during the Thirty Years War, but was rebuilt in 1680–81. The castle is still surrounded by a ring wall with three towers and a gate tower. The defensive character of the castle, however, was with the reconstruction in 17th Century significantly reduced. The plant was already at that time no longer defensible.
Sigismund of Bavaria also ordered the construction of the palace chapel, a splendid masterpiece of late Gothic style which still has preserved its stained-glass windows, along with the altars with three paintings created in 1491 by Jan Polack. The cycle of the statues of the apostles on the side walls was built around 1490/95.
Since 1983 the International Youth Library (Internationale Jugendbibliothek) has been housed in Blutenburg Castle. The Blutenburg concerts are well known.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.