Burg Lockenhaus was built in Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles around 1200, and was initially called 'Leuca' or Léka. The castle is in the Güns Valley, set amidst a hilly terrain in eastern Austria, near the Hungarian border towards Kőszeg.
Settlements in the area of Burg Lockenhaus date to the Stone Age. The castle was built around 1200, although it first appears in written records dated to 1242. Burg Lockenhaus was built to defend the area against the Mongols. The castle was destroyed in 1337 under Charles I of Hungary.
The town was given a market status in 1492. Finally the castle went to the Nadasdy family. Francis II Nadasdy married Elizabeth Báthory, a descendant of Stephen VIII Báthory, who went down in history as the Blood Countess, because of her reign of terror, torturing, and murdering hundreds of women for sadistic pleasure.
The castle and the town saw substantial improvements during the reign of Francis III Nadasdy (1622–1671). During the Turkish War in 1683, there was substantial damage to the town and the castle. In the uprising during the 18th century, there was further looting and destruction.
Today castle facilities are available for weddings, cultural events, conferences, seminars and meetings.
From both the cultural and historical points of view, Lockenhaus Castle, the last genuine knights’ castle with the original medieval kitchen, sanctuary, knights’ hall, chapel and priest’s lodging, puts all other Burgenland fortresses in the shade. A sanctuary in which the light enters through a vaulted ceiling, as it does in many Crusader fortresses, was dedicated to the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar are also supposed to have used the knights’ hall, with the Gothic rib vaulted ceiling, as a secret meeting place. Today Lockenhaus Castle houses a museum with exhibits and guided tours on key points of the castle’s history.
The dungeon is particularly notable. It was hewn out of the rock by Turkish prisoners. According to one document, sixteen Turks were burnt alive in it in 1557. Another feature is the so-called cult room, an underground room about which there are various theories.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.