The construction of the Krasiczyn Castle started in 1580, initiated by a local nobleman Stanislaw Siecienski of Siecin, who came to the area from Mazovia. Works lasted for 53 years, and the castle was not completed until 1633, by Marcin Krasicki, son of Stanisław and Voivode of Podolia, who in the meantime had changed his name. Originally, the castle was a fortified stronghold, protecting southern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, Marcin Krasicki, who was regarded as one of the most important promoter of arts in the country, turned the fortress into a sophisticated residence (palazzo in fortezza), under supervision of Italian architect, Galleazzo Appiani. Also, he dubbed the complex Krasiczyn, after his last name. The Krasiczyn castle was built on the site of an older, wooden complex, called Sliwnica, which had probably been built in the 14th century.
Despite numerous fires and wars across the centuries, the castle's complex has been essentially unchanged since the early 17th century. Built as a square, with walls representing all four quarters of the globe, at the corners there are four oval-shaped towers: Divine (Boska), Papal (Papieska), Royal (Krolewska), and Noble (Szlachecka). These names reflected the eternal order of the world, with four grades of authority. The rectangular, spacious court is surrounded to the east and north by living quarters, and to the south and west by walls, adorned with attics. In the middle of the western wall, there is a square-shaped tower of the clock (Zegarowa), added by Marcin Krasicki at the beginning of the 17th century. This tower serves as a main gate, with a wall bridge over the moat.
One of most precious elements of the complex is the chapel, located in the Divine Tower, which has been compared to the Sigismund's Chapel in Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral. Among other interesting things, there are richly sculpted portals, loggias, arcades, and unique sgraffito wall decorations, whose total area is about 7000 square meters. All works were overseen by Italian architects, and the details were completed by craftsmen from nearby Przemysl. The sgraffito depicted Roman emperors, Polish kings, members of the Krasicki family, hunting scenes, and saints of the Roman-Catholic Church. Unfortunately, most of the interior design has been destroyed, mostly by the Red Army soldiers, who were stationed there from October 1939 to June 1941.
Near the castle, there is the Swiss Pavilion, connected with Krasiczyn by a secret passage. Standing also in the adjacent park is the Hunter’s Pavilion, a villa in 'the hunter style'. The park itself is abundant with birds and plants.
After World War II, the Communist government nationalized the complex and set up a high school of forestry in the buildings. In the 1970s, the castle was a property of automobile manufacturer from Warsaw. After the collapse of the Communist system, the castle found a new owner, Warsaw's Industrial Development Agency, which has carried out extensive renovation of the complex. As a result, in 2000, Krasiczyn was added to the association of hotels and restaurants located in historic buildings Currently, Krasiczyn castle is a popular tourist attraction and there are organized sightseeing tours held here.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.