The fortress of Lichtenau goes back to a medieval water castle. In 1406 Nuremberg purchased the village and the castle of Lichtenau from Frederick II of Heideck. Because of the location of Lichtenau as a tactical outpost of the Imperial City of Nuremberg within the territory of the margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach there was frequently tension and destruction as a result of warlike conflicts.
During the First Margrave War in 1449 Albrecht Achilles invaded Lichtenau, devastated the land and captured the castle. The castle was not returned until 1453. In the course of the Second Margrave War, in 1553, it was totally destroyed by Albrecht Alcibiades even though it had been surrendered without a fight. The Imperial City of Nuremberg had a completely new castle built. Due to the level of destruction, the rebuild took until 1630 to complete.
Barely a year later, the fortress was besieged by imperial troops and Georg Scheurl handed over the fortress, again without resisting, to the imperial commander, Tilly who, however, did not damage it. The last major attack on the fortress was in 1688, in a raid by troops of the French 'sun king', Louis XIV. The French demanded that the pfleger, John Frederick Haller of Hallerstein surrender it. He, however, broke the tradition of handing it over without a fight and fought back, whereupon the French gave up storming the fortification.
In 1806 Lichtenau fell, like Nuremberg and the rest of Franconia, to the Kingdom of Bavaria, whereupon the fortress was used as a gaol. In this period, Lichtenau was governed inter alia by Ludwig von Redwitz (1779–1848) as governor of the gaol; his son, later the well known poet, Oskar von Redwitz, was born here in 1823.
Lichtenau Fortress is a splendid example of Renaissance architecture even though from a military perspective it did not represent the state of the art of fortifications at the time of its completion and was not easy to defend against siege artillery due to its location in a valley.
After thorough renovation, the fortress is used today by the Free State of Bavaria as an satellite site for the Nuremberg State Archives. The inner courtyard and the wall platforms are open during the day for sightseeing. Once a year in July the local history society organizes the castle festival. During this festival, which also attracts young people from the wider region, the castle is open to the public on two days.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.