The Château d'Étampes was a castle in the town of Étampes. The principal remains are of the 12th-century keep, the Tour de Guinette.
The Château d'Étampes was an early 10th-century stronghold of Robert the Pious, King of France, that comprised both a palace proper and motte. Between 1130 and 1150, a new castle was created overlooking the valley, culminating in a strong keep or donjon: the present Tour de Guinette. The Château was extended under later kings, notably Philip II of France, but suffered through sieges in the Hundred Years War before having been ordered destroyed by Henry IV of France, after which only the keep remained.
The architectural aspects of this former royal castle are known from contemporary images, including the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry. Tour de Guinette was in the center of the castle and was surrounded by a rectangular curtain wall punctuated by corner towers. This wall was, in turn, enclosed by two additional walls providing layers of defense for the keep.
The surviving keep stands roughly 27 meters tall and is a quatrefoil plan (much like a four-leaf clover). Divided into four stories, first-floor access may originally have been reached from the enclosure wall. This interesting plan is the result of tactical experimentation that the keep underwent during the mid-12th century to improve the defense of towers against missiles and to reduce dead ground. The circular lobes deflect missiles, and allow defenders to cover the foot of the walls from the summit of the keep. The plan resembles the keeps of Ambleny and nearby Houdan. Clifford's Tower, part of York Castle in York, England, is believed to have been inspired by Étampes.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.