The exact date of Altenburg Castle construction is unknown, however the traditional date given is during the reign of Valentinian I or around 370. The discovery of several small coin hoards near the ruins may indicate a construction date as early as the beginning of the 4th century AD.
The castle was built on a point above the Aar river as part of the Limes Germanicus to protect an easily fordable stretch of the river. The walls were 3–5 m thick and protected by six or eight half-round towers. Nothing is known about the number, location or purposes of the interior buildings.
The Schlössli was built in the ruins of the Roman castle during the late 10th century, probably for an ancestor of the famous Habsburg family. It remained the seat of that family until the construction of Habsburg Castlein the 11th century. After that time it became the seat of Habsburg bailiffs or knights. In 1397 the castle, village and the rest of the Habsburg Eigenamt were gifted to Königsfelden Monastery in Windisch.
On 16 November 1414, Emperor Sigismund called the Council of Constance to settle the Western Schism between the three popes (Benedict XIII, Gregory XII, and John XXIII), all of whom claimed legitimacy. Frederick IV of Habsburg sided with John XXIII. When John XXIII was declared an antipope, he fled the city with Frederick's help. The emperor then declared the Habsburg lands forfeited and ordered the neighboring countries to conquer those lands for the emperor. The city-state of Bern had already pledged their support of the emperor against the Habsburgs in 1414, and so they were ready to invade. Following a series of Confederation victories, in 1415 much of the Eigenamt including Altenburg was in Bernese hands. After Bern assumed control, the monastery retained most of their rights to the land and castles.
In 1528 Bern adopted the new faith of the Protestant Reformation and quickly seized and secularized all of the lands of the religious houses. Under Bernese rule, the castle remained a minor manor house tucked away in the country. During the 16th century a late Gothictower house topped with crow-stepped gables was added. In 1941 it was converted into a youth hostel, which it remains today.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.