Baranów Sandomierski Castle is one of the most important Mannerist structures in the country. The castle is commonly known as the 'little Wawel'. Originally a residency of the Lubomirski family, it now serves as a historical museum, hotel and conference centre.
The castle was built around the years 1591–1606 in the style of Poland's Mannerism with richly decorated attics, side towers and arcade courtyard for Andrzej and Rafał Leszczyński (1526–1592) of the Wieniawa coat of arms. It is believed to be the work of a famous Italian architect, Santi Gucci, the court artist of king Stephen Báthory. In about 1620 the castle was surrounded by bastion fortifications and in 1625 its chambers were adorned with early Baroque decorations executed by the eminent stucco decorator Giovanni Battista Falconi.
By the end of the 17th century, the castle came into the possession of the Lubomirski family through marriage. Prince Józef Karol Lubomirski wedded its owner, Princess Teofila Ludwika Zasławska in 1683, and rebuilt her principal residence by way of commissioning the royal Dutch-Polish architect Tylman van Gameren (Tylman Gamerski) from the court of Jan III Sobieski, who converted the castle, added the western wing gallery and embellished the interiors with profuse late-baroque stucco decorations. The gallery housed their collection of art. Notably, almost two centuries later, all works of art were destroyed in massive fires, first in 1848 (with the entire library) under Krasicki family and finally in 1898 under Dolańskis.
Castle in Baranów Sandomierski passed successively into the possession of families: Wiśniowiecki, Sanguszko, Lubomirski, Małachowski, Potocki and Krasicki. In 1867 it was acquired by Feliks Dolański. The structure was restored by subsequent owner Stanisław Dolański after a fire in 1898. Under the direction of Kraków architect Tadeusz Stryjeński some changes were carried out in the layout. During this reconstruction one of the chambers on the ground floor was adopted as chapel and decorated in art nouveau style. Stained-glass windows by Józef Mehoffer and an altar with a painting of Jacek Malczewski Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception were major features of the interior. The castle remained in the possession of the Dolański family till the outbreak of World War II. Due to war damages the castle was renovated by the State in the years 1959–1969.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.