Graines castle occupies the summit of a rocky spur which commands Brusson and most of the Val d'Ayas. In medieval times, it communicated through flag or mirror messages with the nearby Bonot Tower and the Villa Castle in Challand-Saint-Victor.
The fief of Graines is documented since 515, when King Sigismund of Burgundy donated it to the newly formed Abbey of St. Maurice. The castle was perhaps built in the 11th century by its monks, who built the Romanesque chapel which is still visible in the interior.
In 1263 the abbey sold the fief to Godefroi of Challant, a faithful vassal of the House of Savoy, whose family held the castle until the 18th century. The castle was a stronghold of Catherine of Challant in her struggle for the family's inheritance. When the Challant disappeared in the 19th century, the castle was bought by Passerin d'Entrèves family, who later sold it to the commune of Brusson. The castle was restored in the early 20th century by Alfredo d'Andrade and Giuseppe Giacosa.
The castle had the typical layout of Aosta Valley early medieval castles. It had an irregular line of walls measuring c. 80 x 50 m, which housed a series of structures such as the large donjon (square tower) and a small chapel, the only ones remaining now.
The donjon is square in plan, with a side of more than 5.5 m. It was the castle's keep and the residence of the castellan or the lord. The entrance was at some five metres from the ground, and could be accessed only by a ladder which could be removed during sieges. A wing was later added to enlarge the tower.
The Romanesque chapel, dedicated to St. Martin, has a single nave with a length of eight metres, ending in a semicircular apse. The ceiling had crumbled down.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.