The beginnings of the fortified stronghold on the territory of present-day Grudziadz go back to the 10th century. It was first mentioned in historical sources in 1065. In 1207 the stronghold was ruled by Konrad of Masovia who, in 1218, bestowed Chelmno Land and the stronghold to Bishop Christian. In 1231 the town was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. In 1299 construction of the castle was completed and a town was erected around it.
The town was partially ruined several times during attacks by Pomeranian Dukes (1242, 1244), the Prussians and the Lithuanians (1278-1281). The seat of the commander of the Teutonic Knights was established in Grudziadz. In the 14th century the town was surrounded by a thick, double wall with 10 towers and 4 fortified gates. Moats were dug along parts of the wall. The town became a center of grain trade because of its favorable location on the Vistula waterway. The large granaries on the Vistula River were first mentioned in historical documents in 1365.
During the Polish-Swedish War (1655-1660) the Grudziadz castle became Charles Gustav’s headquarters. In 1711 Peter I, tsar of Russia lived there. From the 16th until the 18th century the town’s development was hindered by wars, plagues, floods, fires, as well as by competition from other developing towns nearby, in particular Torun. In 1772 Grudziadz passed under Prussian rule and soon after became a garrison town, in large part thanks to the mighty fortress built between 1776-1788. King Fredrick William III found shelter in Grudziadz after having lost the Battle of Jena against Napoleon. The town began to deteriorate with the decline of trade on the Vistula. Further destruction occurred between 1806-1807 when the town was under siege by the French for 5 months.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.