Raka Castle is one of the oldest medieval castles in Slovenia. It was documented in 1161 and explicitly mentioned as Castrum Arch in 1279. Built in the second half of the 12th century by the Counts of Bogen, it was inherited by the Counts of Andechs and then passed into the possession of the Dukes of Spanheim. The castle was sold by a relative of the Archer knights to Baron Georg von Scheyer.
The Archer knights oversaw Raka Castle from 1248 until the end of their line at the close of the 15th century. In 1501, a relative of theirs, Leonhard Herič from Kompolje in Blagovica, sold the castle to Baron Georg von Scheyer from Soteska. The castle was later burned in 1515 during a peasant revolt. In 1525, the castle and its estate were given in fief to Baron Johann Balthasar von Werneck by Archduke Karl. In the early 17th century, it was jointly owned by Baron Johann Ruess von Ruessenstein.
Through the 17th century, Raka Castle was owned by the Werneck barons and eventually sold to the Kajzelj family, who arranged greenhouse plots and a pond with crab breeding facilities below the castle. The old castle was preserved from its dilapidated state by Baron Franz Karl Haller von Hallerstein, who owned it from 1784 to 1825. He gave it a completely different and refined look, including new landscaped formal gardens and several purpose-built outbuildings. He further enlarged the Raka estate through purchases from the partial sale of the Studenice estate in 1800 and Dolenje Radulje in 1811.
The castle was used as a military outpost during World War II. Between 1952 and 1961, Raka served as a municipal seat. In 1948, after expulsion from their convent, the Daughters of Charity moved into the castle, where they remained until 1998. In 2007, the castle was declared a monument of special architectural or historic interest by the Municipality of Krško in order to protect the integrity of its landscape, architectural, artistic and historical value, strengthen its cultural testimony, present its cultural value in situ and in the media, and promote educational and scientific research work.
Raka Castle is a quadrangular three-story building with a partial basement. It has an eleven-bay facade to the north and an eight-bay facade on its east side.
To the west and south, the mansion is surrounded by woodlands and thickets. Passage around the castle itself is possible along a narrow, untended path. One enters the arcaded courtyard through a grand, classicist style stone portal. The castle (mansion) has been vacant and empty since the departure of the Sisters of Charity in 1998. Some interior furniture, toilets, and bathrooms are intact.
The nuns installed plumbing in the mansion, enclosed the courtyard arcades with wood and glass, partially repaired the roof (which later fell into disrepair), and constructed a simple brick garage on the property behind the mansion. Only the south and the west wings of the building have basements, which can be accessed by broad wooden staircases directly off the courtyard.
In the recent past, the ground floor was used mainly for livestock. The granary and pantry, located on the elevated ground floor of the west wing, were fitted with floor compartments to store crops and with wooden ceiling beams for hanging produce, various products originating from the estate, and general useful items. Broad stone stairs, set in the middle of the east wing, lead from the arcaded corridor to the first floor rooms, some of which are partitioned. The wooden floors are covered with linoleum.
In the central part of the southern wing is a hall with a flat ceiling and a Baroque style parquet floor. One of the best preserved rooms is called Johanna's room. On the outer side a manual lift (dumbwaiter) was used to transfer food from the kitchen to the rooms. Also of interest is the food distribution area with a small, well preserved, built-in cabinet and barrier, and a distribution counter with cupboards.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.