Hambach Castle considered to be the symbol of the German democracy movement because of the Hambacher Fest which occurred here in 1832.
Archaeological finds prove that the area of Hambach Castle was used in late Roman times. In late Carolingian Dynasty times and Ottonian dynasty times a castle of refuge was built there. Portions remain in front of and under the outer ring wall. There is little known about its early history. The only thing certain is that between 1090 and 1104 bishop Johann I of Speyer signed over the estate together with Castle Meistersel to the Bishopric of Speyer, which stayed the owner to the end of the 18th century.
Especially during the 13th century, larger building projects took place. Bishop Nikolaus I was consecrated as Bishop of Speyer in the castle chapel on July 12, 1388. More construction was done at the end of the 14th century and in the second half of the 15th century by the bishops Nikolaus I and Matthias I. The castle was the home for the Episcopalian document archive at the end of the 14th century.
Later the importance of the castle declined, one reason being the erection of the new estate Hanhofen after 1414/20. During the German Peasants' War in 1525 the castle was occupied and looted. In 1552 it was conquered and burned down by troops of Margrave and mercenary-leader Albrecht Alkibiades of Brandenburg. Bishop Marquard of Speyer, who was in office from 1560–81, only arranged a very provisional rebuilding of the residential buildings and made the ruin the seat of a forester.
The former fortress wasn't damaged during the Thirty Years' War, but during War of the Palatinian Succession in September 1688, French soldiers destroyed the erstwhile abandoned castle. It was once more provisionally restored from 1701 to 1703.
In 1797 the castle was declared to be French government property. In 1816 after the Congress of Vienna the ruin became the property of the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1844 Bavaria began to rebuild the castle in neo-gothic style.
In the context of the Hambacher Fest of 1832 the then ruined castle was the focal point of the discontent of the Palatinate people over the repressive measures of the Bavarian administration which had been in office since 1816. The administration had retracted important rights which had been given to the people by French Revolution troops (governing 1797/98-1815). Since the Hambacher Fest, Hambach Castle has been considered a symbol of democracy.
Before the 150th anniversary of the Hambacher Fest in 1982 the castle was completely restored. Today Hambach is a museum and convention centre with about 200,000 visitors per year.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.