The Menkemaborg was originally brick-built castle house built in the 14th century. It was dramatically altered around 1700 but has since been barely changed. The Alberda family, the 18th-century occupants, commissioned artists to decorate the interior with impressive chimney-pieces carved with baroque ornaments, and paintings of mythological scenes. A four-poster bed, draped with yellow silk damask from China, has also been preserved.
The rooms, which comprise reception rooms, the gentlemen's room, a study, dining room, bedroom, kitchen and cellars, are fully furnished with furniture, silverware, china, brassware and portrait paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The gardens were reconstructed after the surviving garden design dating from around 1705, and are marked by a clear layout with symmetrical patterns of clipped box enclosing beds of 18th-century flowering and ornamental plants. A particularly pretty part is the walled pleasure garden in front of the pavilion, with its trellissed arches and arbours. The natural 'sundial garden' is special too. To the east of the mansion is the utility area with a kitchen garden where vegetables and potherbs are grown and an orchard with ancient strains of apple trees and a pear-tree pergola. At the heart of the maze you will eventually find an old plane tree. In summer, the flowering rose tunnel is not to be missed!
The complex of the mansion and gardens, surrounded by their tree-shaded moat, offers a vivid impression of how the Groningen aristocracy lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Menkemaborg was owned privately until 1902. The last heirs donated it in 1921 to the Groninger Museum, which restored it in 1927 and opened it to the public. In 1969 the 'Stichting Museum Menkemaborg' was founded that manages the museum and grounds. The largest part of the collection in the Menkemaborg belongs to the Groninger Museum. Most of these came from deconstructed 'borgs', because the province of Groningen once had 200 borgs, and only 16 survive.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.