The Imperial family once used Halbturn Palace, Burgenland’s most important Baroque building, as a hunting lodge and summer palace. The palace, in northern Burgenland, and its splendid parklands, is regarded as one of Burgenland’s most esteemed historic attractions.
Halbturn palace was built in 1711 during the reign of Emperor Charles VI by Lucas von Hildebrandt, one of the most important Austrian figures in late baroque architecture. It has gone through good times and bad. Its heyday may well have been the epoch shown in an oil painting from the middle of the 18th century. During the first Turkish siege the imperial stud had been destroyed. The Halbturn estate was mortgaged for several years and passed back into imperial-royal ownership under Emperor Charles VI. After the death of Emperor Charles VI his daughter, Maria Theresia, succeeded to the throne on account of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1740.
In 1765 Maria Theresia acquired Halbturn Palace, part of the estate of Hungarian Altenburg at the time, from the Hungarian crown. She gave it as private property to her favourite daughter, Archduchess Marie Christine, as a present for her wedding to Duke Albert-Casimir von Sachsen-Teschen. For this occasion the baroque artist Anton Maulbertsch was also commissioned to paint the ceiling fresco, “Triumph of Light”.
Halbturn Palace offers a varied programme of art, culture, wine and gourmet food all year round. Fascinating annual exhibitions, high quality concert series, various summer events and the famous Pannonian Christmas Market in the historical setting of the palace draw thousands of visitors and tourists from home and abroad every year.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.