The Church of Virgin Mary is a three-aisle basilica church (the nave is higher than the aisles) with large separated chancel closed by five-side apse. It was erected in the second half of the 14th century and enlarged in 1500s. The church was partially damaged during II World War and rebuilt in 1948. In 2003 the spire and dome of the church tower were reconstructed.
More valuable monuments in the temple are pulpit coming from late Renaissance made in 1609-1630 by master from Słupsk, Paweł Waltersdorf and funded by the guilt of amber-processors (with 43 members at that time). The pulpit is covered with bass-relieves, richly ornamented polychromed and gilded. The entrance to the pulpit is embraced by a portal (the lock in the door comes from 1609). Marvelous, first final of the pulpit, the so called amber crown from the first half of the 17th century was taken away during II World War. Worth attention are also hanging candelabra – some Baroque from the 18th century, some Neo-Rococo from the 19th century – as well as numerous Baroque candlesticks form the 17th-18th centuries and later from the 19th century.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.