St. Elisabeth Cathedral is Slovakia"s biggest church, as well as one of the easternmost Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The record on the existence of Košice, dating from 1230, is connected with that of the existence of the rectory church. According to historic data the present-day cathedral was built on the site of an edifice of older date which was consecrated to St. Elisabeth as well. It was referred to in the document of Pope Martin V of the year 1283 and in the letter of 1290, which stated that the bishop of Eger Andrew II exempted Košice parish from the dean"s sphere of jurisdiction.
This medieval monument was built in the High Gothic style between 1378 and 1508 in several stages on the site of a parish church that burned down in 1370, in memory of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, the patron of all armed mercenaries and also Portugal.
The cathedral was often damaged by calamities (1556) and underwent numerous restorations. The most extensive restoration works took place in the years 1877-1896 by the drafts of Imre Steindl. The northern tower was completed in 1775, while the southern, Matthias tower in 1904. During the last phase of the restoration, a crypt was built under the northern nave of the cathedral. In 1906 the remains of Francis II Rákóczi and his friends from Rodosto were buried there.
On its southern side of the cathedral there is an entrance chamber with the royal oratory above it and chapels on its sides. The southern steeple, the so-called Matejova, dates from 1461 and the northern steeple with Rococo helm dating from 1775 complete the western front of the cathedral. The western portal is decorated with embossed scenes with the following biblical motifs: Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Piety and Towel of St. Verona. The richest and artistically the most valuable is the northern portal with the embossed painting. The Last Trial executed in two rows one above the other. Also to be seen here are embossed paintings from the life of St. Elisabeth, Virgin Mary with women, St. John with soldiers. Above them there is one more painting the Crucifixion. In the middle of the northern portal there is a sculpture of St. Elizabeth. The southern portal has two entrances and forms an integral part of the whole composition according to the original design of the southern entrance chamber.
The interior of the St. Elizabeth Cathedral is very imposing and valuable. In this respect particular mention should be made of the main altar of St. Elizabeth, a hanged sculpture of Immaculata, the Late Gothic altar Visit of Virgin Mary, a stone epitaph of the Reiner family, a wooden sculpture of Virgin Mary, fragments of the wall painting The Last Trial, the side altar of St. Anton Paduansky, a wall painting The Resurrection, the bronze font, the altar painting of St. Anna Metercia, Gothic Calvary, the lantern of the king Matthew, wooden polychrome sculptures, the side altar Worship of Three Kings, Neo-Gothic stone pulpit. Valuable masterpieces and relics are preserved in the treasury.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.