In 1321, Bishop Konrad Kamien gave the patronage to the church in Darłowo to the brothers Święce: Peter and Jasiek and Peter’s son - Wawrzyniec. This year is considered to be the beginning of the construction of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as St. Mary's Church. The church was damaged by fire in 1589, 1624, 1679 and 1722. The fire in 1679, resulting from a lightning strike, burned down the entire interior of the church with a tower.
From 1535 till the end of the hostilities in 1945, the church belonged to Protestants, most of whom lived in the area of Pomerania. At that time, there were many changes in church architecture. After the Second World War, along with Polish settlers, Catholic priests came to the city. On August 14, 1945, the Franciscans of the Province of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception took over the church and on September 1 of that same year, its consecration was made. Father Damian Tyniecki was the first parish priest. Since 1974, the church has been reconstructed to regain its Gothic roots. The balconies were removed, the plasters were knocked off from the rib vaulting in the nave and aisles; a bay and two gothic and medieval portals, well-preserved wall paintings in the chancel were exposed.
The most interesting detail in St. Mary's Church is Pomeranian Mausoleum with the sarcophaguses of King Eric, Elizabeth, wife of the last Duke of Pomerania and Hedwig - Princess of Pomerania which are located in the chapel of the church tower. There is also richly decorated Baroque pulpit, probably from around 1700. Its body is embellished with reliefs of scenes from the life of Christ and biblical scenes. The pulpit is supported by the figure of an angel. The canopy is a scene of the Last Judgment. The church has a Baroque mural painting of Adoration of the Magi (17th-18th century) and a window painting of St. Christopher located in the walled bay. In addition, there are six portraits of the Apostles from the late 17th century, the Renaissance baptismal bowl from the 16th century, made in Nuremberg. Baptismal font carved in the plate is the work of an artist from Pomeranian Land - William Gross. It is located in the nave of the church, just below the balcony.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.