Between 1612 and 1615, Salzburg’s prince-archbishop Markus Sittikus commissioned the building of a summer residence at the foot of Hellbrunn mountain, a location already abundant in naturally flowing waters. Based on Italian models and in a relatively short period of time, an architectural jewel had been created, still reckoned amongst the most magnificent Renaissance buildings north of the Alps. Hellbrunn was only meant for use as a day residence in summer, as the Archbishop usually returned to Salzburg in the evening, therefore, there is no bedroom in Hellbrunn.
The schloss is also famous for its jeux d'eau ('watergames') in the grounds, which are a popular tourist attraction in the summer months. These games were conceived by Markus Sittikus, a man with a keen sense of humour, as a series of practical jokes to be performed on guests. Notable features include stone seats around a stone dining table through which a water conduit sprays water into the seat of the guests when the mechanism is activated, and hidden fountains that surprise and spray guests while they take part on the tour. Other features are a mechanical, water-operated and music-playing theatre built in 1750 including some 200 automata showing various professions at work, a grotto and a crown being pushed up and down by a jet of water, symbolising the rise and fall of power. At all of these games there is always a spot which is never wet: that where the Archbishop stood or sat, to which there is no water conduit and which is today occupied by the tour guide.
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.