It is unknown when the construction of Krzyżtopór impressive fortress began. The first documented proof of the construction of the castle comes from 1627, when it was uncompleted. It was probably finished it in 1644, having spent the enormous sum of 30 million Polish zlotys on the work. The castle was inherited by Ossoliński's son Krzysztof Baldwin Ossoliński, who died in 1649 in the Battle of Zborów. After his death, the formidable complex was purchased by the family of the Denhoffs, then by the Kalinowskis.
In 1655, during the Swedish invasion of Poland, the castle was captured by the Swedes, who occupied it until 1657, pillaging the entire complex. The damage to the structure was so extensive that after the Swedes’ withdrawal it was not rebuilt, as it was deemed too costly. Several noble families (the Morsztyns, the Wiśniowieckis and the Pacs) lived in the best preserved, western wing, but the castle otherwise remained in ruins.
In 1770, during the Bar Confederation, Krzyżtopór, defended by the Confederate units, was seized by the Russians, who completed the building's ruin. Reportedly, last known inhabitant of the complex, Stanisław Sołtyk, lived there in the years 1782–87, after which time Krzyżtopór has been abandoned.
During the Second World War the complex was again ransacked. A partial remodeling took place in 1971, and in 1980 the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs decided to rebuild it for use as a rest area for officers. This work was halted in 1981, when martial law was imposed in Poland.
Today the castle, without convenient proximity to main roads and rail connections, is visited by relatively few tourists. However, as walls, bastions and moat are relatively well-preserved, its magnitude is still very impressive. Though it is regarded as a permanent ruin, since around 90 percent of the walls have been preserved, reconstruction has been planned several times. Currently, efforts have been underway to roof the entire complex; however, this ambitious project lacks sufficient funding.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.