The Château de Largoët, also known as the Tours d'Elven (Elven Towers), is mentioned for the first time in 1020, belonging to the baron of Elven, Derrien I. The present building was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries. The manor became the property of the Malestroit family in the 13th century. The houses of Blois and Montfort fought for it during the Breton War of Succession, before it came to the Rieux family in the 15th century. It was during this period (between 1474 and 1476) that Jean IV, lord of Rieux, protected Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, future King Henry VII of England. In 1490, Charles VIII of France, dismantled the castle, but it was restored under the influence of Anne de Bretagne.
Nicolas Fouquet bought it in 1656 and, after his death, it was sold to Michel de Trémeurec and stayed in his family. In the 19th century, it was proposed to demolish Largoët, given its dilapidation, but it was saved thanks to Prosper Mérimée, who had it classed as a monument historique in 1862. Beginning in the 1970s, there has been a programme of restoration.
The ruins of Largoët maintain their imposing aspect, notably because of the 14th century octagonal keep. At 45 m, it is one of the highest in France. There are five floors and the walls are between 6 and 10 m thick. On the sixth or seventh floor is the room where Henry Tudor stayed.
As well as this colossal edifice, Largoët also boasts a 15th-century gatehouse and a round tower of three storeys, from the 15th century, with cannon openings on the first level, and covered with a hexagonal building. It was furnished in the 20th century as a hunting lodge. The remains of the enclosing walls, dried up moats and a lake also exists.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.