St George’s Church in Kostoľany pod Tribečom represents a unique example of pre-Romanesque religious architecture. It is the only church still in existence in Central Europe with a relatively well preserved cycle of wall paintings that are representative of the so-called pre-Romanesque art.
The church has undergone a number of building phases. The first one is represented by a small wooden structure, of which today are preserved only a few post-pits. The extent of this building phase has more or less been copied by the subsequent stone church.
The pre-Romanesque walled church was built of quarry stones. The interior was divided into two parts: a presbytery in the shape of an irregular trapezoid and a rectangular nave. The presbytery has a barrel vault and there is no triumphal arch that would separate it from the nave. This fact seems to have been influenced by the wall paintings, whose iconography, style and technology belong to the sphere of pre-Romanesque art. They are not only being the oldest preserved paintings in our region but are also an important source for the study of the intellectual world and the standards of early mediaeval local elites and their contacts and influences during this period. The walled Church of St George and its paintings can be dated roughly to around 1000, more specifically to the first decades of the 11th century.
From the Middle Ages to the Modern era the church underwent multiple renovations. Today’s three-room division consists of a single pre-Romanesque nave with presbytery, late Romanesque part with the gallery and tower and a modern annex with independent entrance on the western side.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.