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 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.