According to legend, the first castle on the site of Grasburg was built by a Roman hunter who saw the massive sandstone spire on an island in the Sense river. He saw a red deer on the cliff over the river and went to catch it. As he rode after the deer a dragon roared out of a cave, but the hunter quickly killed the dragon. The deer then walked up to the hunter and offered his life to the hunter. The hunter allowed the deer to go free and the deer gave him possession of the area. The hunter than built the first castle on the top of the sandstone spire on the island. A bridge was built over the river and became part of the Roman road from Aventicum. The legend continues that after the Roman Empire collapsed, a Walliser robber took over the old Roman castle as a new hideout. He began to hire local villagers to help him expand the castle toward the east. Initially he acted friendly and kind, but when the workers complained of the work or asked for pay, he murdered them and mixed their blood into the mortar. This, according to legend, is why the mortar on the east side is particularly hard. While the Romans lived in the area, there is no archeological evidence of a Roman or early medieval fortification.
Despite the local legends, the first castle on the site may have been a wooden fortification, but the oldest stone walls are from the 11th or 12th century. It was probably built by a Burgundian or Zähringen noble. The castle was first mentioned in 1223 as Grasburc. In the same year, a knight, Otto von Grasburg was mentioned at the castle, followed in 1228 by the knight Kuno von Grasburg. In the 13th century the castle and lands passed to the Kyburgs and then after their family died out in 1263/64 the Habsburgs beat out the Counts of Savoy to inherit it. Under the Habsburgs several Ministerialis (unfree knights in the service of a feudal overlord) families held the castle.
In 1310 Henry VII, the King of Germany, pledged the castle and surrounding Herrschaft to Count Amadeus of Savoy to pay debts. The Counts held the estate for over a century, until the remote location and gradual decay forced them to sell the castle and territory to Bern and Fribourg in 1423. The two cities established a condominium or shared rule over the land. The castle served as the residence and administrative center for the vogts that were appointed by alternating cities. In 1575 the increasingly expensive castle was abandoned and the vogt moved to Schwarzenburg Castle. The castle gradually fell into ruin and in 1845 the Canton of Bern sold the ruins to a private owner. In 1894 the city of Bern bought the ruins and began restoring them. By the spring of 1902, the main tower was about ready to collapse. The Canton spent four years repairing and reinforcing the tower. Another project in 1928-31 repaired and restored other parts of the castle ruins. A third project in 1983-84 restored and repaired the ruins further.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.