Kraków Cloth Hall

Kraków, Poland

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.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Poland

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kuba “Scarface” Qiu (8 months ago)
The building is a beautiful piece of architecture and a must see in Kraków. The stuff inside, though, is a mixed bag You can find beautiful amber, some local goods but also cheap Chinese stuff.
Tymoteusz Bieszczanin (9 months ago)
A lovely market place with a lot of local goods and souvenirs. If you're an amber enthusiast, it's a place for you. Sukiennice (The Cloth Hall) in general is a beautiful building with a lot of eye-catching features, which include Coats of Arms of different cities from all over Poland.
mat and (9 months ago)
nice central location, +clean +architectural buildings +lots of nice places to shop, souvenirs or grab something to eat +a lot of small merchants have POS -it can get crowded
Denisa Ungureanu (Jiinxii) (11 months ago)
Cool place to buy souvenirs or just walk around and see what the vendors have on display. Tip: look up, it’s pretty.
Alexander (11 months ago)
Centerpiece of the stunning public square in Kraków. Beautifully structure, lots of interesting trinkets and souvenirs to purchase inside of it. A must visit.
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