The name of the rulers of the Trachselwald Castle was first mentioned in 1131. The castle itself may date back to the 10th century but the 11th or 12th century is more likely. At first it belonged to the barons of Trachselwald, then to the barons of Rüti bei Lyssach, and then those of Sumiswald. The barons of Sumiswald sold the castle and surrounding lands to the city of Bern. Bern turned the castle into a sheriffhood.
The castle was rebuilt or expanded several times. Its oldest parts are the keep, which was built out of tuff, and one half of the main building. These parts of the castle were built in the second half of the 12th century. The stair tower was probably built by a master craftsman from Prismell in 1641.
During the Swiss peasant war of 1653, the peasant leader Niklaus Leuenberger, who was arrested on June 19, 1653 was held in Castle Trachselwald until being taken to Bern, where he was executed on August 27.
The castle was sacked during the 1798 French invasion, but was not burned. It became the center of administration of the district of Trachselwald.
The first castle consisted of a square keep that was about 10 m on each side. The keep and outer walls are made of tuff stone cut into roughly squared blocks which indicates construction before 1200. The dendrochronology dating of the beams indicates that they came from 1251 to 1253. Along with the keep, part of the main building was added during the first construction period. The original keep was probably surrounded by an elliptical ring wall.
In the 14th century the original two story keep doubled in height. In the 16th or 17th century a palas, dungeon and other buildings were added to the castle. The new additions were built in a Romanesque style, which included larger windows and thinner walls. A stair tower was added in 1641 and a granary was built in 1683. The palas was renovated during the 17th and 18th century into its current appearance. In 1751 a new, more decorative gate house was built along with a french garden.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.