Falkland Palace is a royal palace of the Scottish Kings. Before Falkland Palace was built a hunting lodge existed on the site in the 12th century. This lodge was expanded in the 13th century and became a castle which was owned by the Earls of Fife, the famous Clan MacDuff.
Between 1501 and 1541 Kings James IV and James V transformed the old castle into a beautiful renaissance royal palace. Falkland was included in the 'morning gift' that James VI gave to his bride Anne of Denmark.
For five hours in the morning of 28 June 1592 Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell and his men attempted to capture the palace and James VI and Anne of Denmark. They attempted to batter down the back gate but were repulsed by gunshots. The king withdrew to the gatehouse tower and his guard shot at Bothwell's men. Bothwell abandoned the attack at 7 o'clock in the morning, and rode away with the king's horses.
After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the architect James Murray repaired the palace for the visit of King James in 1617. In 1887 John, 3rd Marquis of Bute purchased the estates of Falkland and started a 20-year restoration of the palace. At the time the Palace was a ruin with no windows or doors. Thanks to his restoration work and considerable budget the Palace remains standing today.
Today there is much to explore as you walk through the palace, taking in the detailed panelling in the drawing room, the stunning Chapel Royal (where mass is still said every Sunday morning) and the fascinating painted walls of the library, as well as the re-created royal apartments.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.