Turjak Castle is a 13th-century fairly well known castle in Slovenia and one of the most impressive in the area. The first Turjak castle was built on the site as early as the late 11th century by the knights (later counts) von Auersperg. It may have been extant by 1062, the date the family (specifically Konrad von Auersperg) is first mentioned. In 1140, it was destroyed and burned during a succession struggle between the two heirs of Pilgram II von Auersperg, his son Pilgram IV and his son-in-law Otto von Ortenburg. The castle was held by Pilgram IV, who was defeated.
In 1190 it was rebuilt by count Adolf II von Auersperg, whose son Otto became entangled in a complicated war with the noble houses of von Gortz, Ortenburg, and the Patriarchate of Aquileia, during which the castle was again flattened. Afterward, the site of the first two castles was abandoned in favor of the current one further upslope.
The current castle is first mentioned in 1220. In 1270, Peter and Wolfgang von Auersperg sold it to another branch of the family, only to have it bought back by Balthazar von Auersperg, chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 14th century, Auersperg owners included Gerhard (1317), and the brothers Friederich, Volkard and Herward. The castle was completely destroyed by the great earthquake of 1511, but was rebuilt in time to successfully resist a furious peasants' revolt in 1515 that laid waste to several other castles in the region. It faced a more serious challenge from Turkish raiders, who undertook major assaults against it in 1491 and 1528, but were repelled both times.
During the 16th century, the Auerspergs were strong supporters of the Protestant Reformation in Slovenia. The major Slovene Protestant leaders PrimoÅ¾ Trubar and Jurij Dalmatin were offered sanctuary at the castle, and worked on the first translation of the Bible into Slovene during their stay. The Counts also offered financial support to the project of printing some of the first Slovene books.
On 19 September 1943, the castle was taken by Partisans after a lengthy battle with its garrison of Slovene Axis auxiliaries. About five hundred of them were taken prisoner and became the target of retribution, in the form of notable war crimes. The castle was severely damaged in the battle, and lay in ruins for several years. Following WWII, the castle was nationalized, and restoration work slowly undertaken.
The castle is of triangular layout and stands on a terraced hill. Large Renaissance defensive towers at the points of the triangle are connected by residential wings. The western tower contains a suite of dungeons of varying degrees of unpleasantness. The tall central palacium dates from the Romantic period.
The castle has been significantly altered several times throughout its history. As recently as the 1680s, the Valvasor engravings show a rectangular structure with small towers at only two corners and a large bastille at the eastern end. This layout dates to the major rebuilding after the devastating 1512 earthquake, though some pre-16th century elements survive, notably the north wing and portions of the defensive walls.
The original 10th- or 11th-century castle stood lower on the slope; some minor ruins are still visible.
The castle is unusual in having two chapels. A Catholic one on the west side has served as a church since 1789; after a 1990 renovation, mass has been held there every Sunday. A second Romanesque Protestant chapel is named after Dalmatin, and contains the tombs of the Protestant counts, as well as gothic frescoes.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.