About 1200 the original fortress Kasteln was built in the middle Schenkenberger valley, a few kilometers away from Schenkenberg Castle. In 1238 the castle is first mentioned in a deed of gift to the residents of the castle who were vassals of the Kyburgs. In 1262 Ruchenstein castle was built on the cliff directly behind the fort for the Knight of Ruchenstein. After the extinction of the Kyburg line in 1264, the castle came under the power of the House of Habsburg. Then in 1301 the Ruchenstein line died out, ten years after they had been given the fort as a gift by the Habsburgs. Both castles were acquired by the lords of Mülinen from Brugg. From here, they ruled over a small area on the southern edge of the Jura.
The castle belonged to the family of Mülinen until 1631 when Johann Ludwig von Erlach bought both castles. The Bernese patrician and general ordered the reconstruction of the castle in 1642 to a representative of manor house. Ruchenstein castle was demolished a year later and served as a building material supplier. Because the builder had no previous expertise, and the client was mostly absent, the conversion proved to be expensive and lasted until 1650. After about a century in the possession of the family of Erlach, in 1732 Bern bought the little bailiwick for 90,000 Taler.
After the fall of the Ancien Régime and the Act of Mediation in 1803, the bailiwick came into possession of the newly formed canton of Aargau. The castle was sold in 1836 to a private citizen. In 1855 the brothers Frederick and Louis Carnival of Aarau acquired the property and opened a 'rescue institution for orphans and neglected pupils' of the Reformed denomination. On 24 August 1907 one of the pupils set the castle and adjacent barn on fire. Both buildings suffered heavy damage and had to be rebuilt. It wasn't until 1909 that the Institute started operations in the manor again.
The Institute received the status of a foundation in 1923 and was converted in 1955 in a boarding school for students with behavioral problems. In 1969 next to the castle they built a second school building, swimming pool and a staff house. The entire castle was extensively renovated in 2009 inside and out and adapted to the current needs of the social education.
Kasteln is the only uniform baroque palace built in the Aargau. The current design is mainly due to the modifications under Johann Ludwig von Erlach. At the core is a four-story medieval castle with two-story wings, from 1642–50, to the east and west. The wings were built partly from material from the demolished castle Ruchenstein. The unusually rich interior of the castle in 1907 was lost in the fire.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.