The Downtown Candlemas Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, formerly known as the Mosque of Pasha Qasim is a Roman Catholic church in Pécs. It was a mosque in the 16-17th century due to the Ottoman conquest. It is one of the symbols of the city, located in the downtown, on the Széchenyi square. The current building, hundred steps both its length and its width, was built by Pasha Qasim the Victorious between 1543 and 1546. The mosque was converted into a church in 1702, after the Habsburg-Hungarian troops liberated the city. The minaret was brought down by the Jesuits in 1766. It is still one of the largest Turkish buildings that remains in Hungary. It harbours the characteristics of Turkish architecture.
Standing at the highest point of Pécs's Széchenyi square, the mosque of pasha Qasim is the greatest example of Turkish architecture in Hungary. It was probably built in the second half of the 16th century. In the 1660s Evliya Çelebi, the famous Turkish traveller wrote of the overwhelming majesty of its view. A number of changes had been made on the building between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Its minaret was ultimately taken down but had been previously enlarged. Only the main square part remained of the original structure: the octagon drum, covered by a dome. There are arc windows in two rows on the façade of its south-eastern, south western and north-eastern part; 3-3 and 4-4 pieces. Inside the church, in the remaining plaster parts the Turkish decoration and inscriptions of the Qur'an are clearly visible. The Turkish pulpit and the women's balcony were destroyed and the mihrab is not the original either. The two Turkish bathing basins before the sacristies are taken from the former bath of the pasha next to the church. Today, the building functions as a Catholic church.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.