Sundre Church was originally built as the church for a large farmstead. This first church was wooden, and built during the early 12th century. A few painted remains of the church have been preserved at the Museum of Gotland in Visby. They were painted by a Russian artist and the scene depicts the Last Judgement. It has been speculated whether the remains were originally parts of an iconostasis, given the Russian origin of the work, but more probably they are the remains of a ceiling.
The first church was torn down during the early 13th century and replaced by the presently visible stone church in Romanesque style. Before that, however, a defensive tower had been built near the church, the ruins of which are still standing. It probably served as a haven for the congregation in times of danger or war. The tower of the church was added in the middle of the 13th century.
No major alterations have been made to the church since the Middle Ages, except for the addition of the vestry. Restorations were carried out in 1931 and 1969-1970.
During a large part of its history, the church functioned as a navigational aid for sea-farers, as it is located on a height not far from the sea. It appears as such in a Dutch navigation book in 1627.
The church is built of local sandstone, except the entrance portals which are executed in more durable limestone. It is a relatively homogeneous Romanesque church. The interior of the church is decorated with a suite of medieval frescos depicting the Passion of Christ. A few medieval wooden sculptures have also been preserved, including a triumphal crossfrom the 15th century. The perhaps most unique piece from the church is an organ dating from 1370 and today also on display in the Museum of Gotland in Visby. According to an inscription in Latin, it was made by a master named Verner from Brandenburg. It depicts the coats of arms of what has been interpreted as the ten farms of the parish.
Near the church are the relatively well-preserved ruins of a circular defensive tower, dating from the early Middle Ages.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.