The original structure of Scharfenstein castle was built in 1250. It is suspected that the von Waldenburgs ordered its construction, but only its first owner occupant is known for certain. When, in the 15th century, Greifenstein Castle was destroyed, Scharfenstein also took over the guardianship of Thum, Ehrenfriedersdorf and Geyer. As a result, its value increased, so that in 1439 the Elector acquired the area from the Waldenburgs who were heavily indebted to him. On 26 January 1492 Henry of Einsiedel bought Scharfenstein Castle and its associated villages of Grießbach, Großolbersdorf, Grünau, Hohndorf Hopfgarten and Scharfenstein It remained in the family until 1931.
Following a fire during the night of 1st-2nd June 1921 the entire residential wing and part of the domestic wing was destroyed. From 1921 to 1923 the damaged wings were partially rebuilt to plans by Bodo Ebhardt, based on the old design.
In 1931, a factory owner, Captain Eulitz from Fährbrücke, acquires possession. By his efforts in 1932 in a bird observatory was established. Hundreds of nest boxes were put up throughout the 325 hectares of woodland on the estate; bird-ringing was carried out and scientific reports published, with the support of the Chemnitz Ornithological Society.
In 1945 this forest was seized and made public property, the castle was initially used as the mining school for the state-owned Wismut mining company and, in 1951, a special children's home was established here for maladjusted boys. In 1967, it was converted into a detention centre for juvenile delinquents. Ornithological work was undertaken by the museum at Augustusburg Castle.
In 1993 the castle was taken over by the Saxon Palace Department of the Free State of Saxony. In the period that followed the castle was renovated as a historic monument and converted into a museum. In 1995, on the completion of the renovation work, various exhibitions were opened - and for the first time since 1945, the castle was again open to the public. The bergfried is still used today as an observation tower.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.