Askeby Abbey Church is now a Lutheran parish church. Its oldest part was built during the first half of the 12th century by King Sverker the Elder. Some decades later a convent was added to the church. The first known donations addressed to Askeby Convent are from 1162. The buildings were erected close to a manor, strategically located near the ancient road leading from the Baltic coast to the central parts of the province of Östergötland.
In the 1240s Askeby, like many other convents, was incorporated into the Cistercian order and became important to leading noble families. The buildings were damaged on several occasions, most severely in 1377 by fire. The abbey church, including a parish church, was re-inaugurated in 1418. It had then been enlarged with a new brick chancel in late Gothic style. Bricks were also used for the reconstruction of the convent, inaugurated in 1444 accommodating about twenty nuns. All the buildings were annihilated after the Reformation except for the church, whose tower, however, was destroyed in 1609.
Medieval treasures can still be found in the church, e.g. a triumph crucifix and a pietà. An altar embroidery, now in a museum, can be seen on our website. Years of research have resulted in visualized programs which re-create the abbey itself as well as its environment. These programs are shown in the church in connection with guided tours.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.