Gorizia Castle is built on the hill which dominates the city of Gorizia. The construction can be dated to around 1146, where, for the first time, the title of Count of Gorizia appears, given to Henry IV of Spanheim, which presumes the presence of a fortification on site.
It is likely that an initial series of defensive structures such as a small motte-and-bailey fort with a moat and a palisade which had preceded the construction of a stone tower or keep, which was further expanded during the 13th century, with the addition of a mansion and a two-storey building. During the same period there was certainly a hamlet outside of the palisade, also outfitted with a defensive barrier and composed of houses mandatorily built in masonry, an enforcement given to the residents together with the duty of defending the castle in case of attack.
The first representation of the castle dates back to 1307, imprinted on the seal allowed to the city by Albert II.
At Leonhard's death, the last count of Gorizia, which occurred in 1500, the feud and Gorizia Castle became properties of Maximilian I of Habsburg, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire; which, while reinforcing its defences, lost the fortification and the territory in 1508, and they were obtained by the Republic of Venice, which claimed the succession of the county.
Under the 'Serenissima', the castle had further fortification works to make it more appropriate to the Renaissance warfare, which incorporated the use of firearms. Among the various changes made, the 11th-century keep was demolished. However, Venice only managed to occupy the territory for thirteen months, until June 1509.
In the following century, the castle was used as a prison and as a barracks, and lost its medieval appearance. In the 13th century it was further expanded with bastions, powder kegs and walls. The construction of some of these works was supervised by mathematician and astronomer Edmond Halley.
The castle was damaged during the bombings in the First World War, and underwent a philological restoration between 1934 and 1937 by the architect Ferdinando Forlati, with the help of military engineers and the supervision of the Belle Arti of Trieste. It was decided to return to a medieval look of the castle and discard the white plastering that the building had acquired during the Renaissance.
The castle now houses the Museum of the Middle Ages of Gorizia. The interiors are decorated with original furniture and furnishings, and reproductions of weapons and siege engines are shown. In the central courtyard it is still possible to see the remains of the old 11th-century tower. Above the entrance there is a statue of the Lion of Saint Mark, symbol of the Serenissima. Although dating back to the 16th century, it was never used because of the brief Venetian domination, until 1919, when it was placed in its current location. On the hill around the castle there is a public park.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.