Earliest records of the Brzeg castle's existence describe a small fortress with a moat and fortified walls, built in 1235 during the reign of Henry I the Bearded. A square tower known as 'The Tower of Lions' was built adjoining the castle. The Piast family branch, which ruled over Duchy of Brzeg, lived in the castle between 1311 until 1675. In 1342, the castle was made the capital seat of the duchy after which it was refurbished many times. In 1370, Prince Ludwik I extended the castle and constructed its chapel which includes the Piast dynasty mausoleum.
During Frederick II of Legnica's reign in 1544, more buildings were added to the castle, with the construction completed in 1560. The additions were in the form of two new buildings, a large courtyard enclosing the buildings and an ambulatory. Additional structures built during this period included a tower gate which was the entrance to the structure. Busts of the Piast princes were part of the gate's decor. Modifications in design were from the Gothic style fort to the Renaissance type of architecture in Silesia.
In 1741, the castle was destroyed by the Prussian forces in the First Silesian War, during which the ruins were used as a warehouse for the Prussian Army. After the war, the town with most of Silesia was annexed from Austria to Prussia. Brieg remained in Prusso-German possession until most of Silesia was transferred to Poland in 1945.
During a fire in 1801, there was further damage to the castle. In 1920, reconstruction of the abandoned castle began, but during World War II, damage to the castle was quite extensive. The castle was rebuilt in Renaissance style during 1966–78 and again from 1980–94. It currently serves as the Museum of the Silesian Piasts.
The rebuilt castle is also called 'The Silesian Wawel'. It was rebuilt by Jakub Parr, Franciscus Pahr, and Bernard Niuron from Italy. Its present facade is known as one of the finest Renaissance period structures in Central Europe. The courtyard has been restored with triple story galleries. The interior of some rooms in the eastern wing, which are in the Renaissance style on the ground floor, are well preserved.
The museum, which is part of the castle, has exhibits which trace the history of the Silesian Piasts. Some of the notable paintings exhibited are from a collection of the National Museum of Wrocław and paintings of Michael Leopold Wilmann, a well known Silesian Baroque painter. The museum also has well-preserved sarcophaguses of the dukes of Legnica and Brzeg.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.