Mogiła Abbey is a Cistercian monastery founded in 1222 by the Bishop of Kraków, Iwo Odrowąż. It was the largest and most impressive church in medieval Poland after Wawel Cathedral, and served as the Odrowąż family's burial place until the 16th century.
The monastic community, consisting of the 13 professed monks mandatory for an independent monastery, moved in around 1225, although the expansion of the abbey continued for years to come. The Mogiła Abbey was confirmed by the Roman Curia through a papal bull signed by Pope Gregory IX on 9 June 1228.
In 1241 the abbey was ransacked in the course of the Mongol invasion of Poland. It was rebuilt and the abbey church was consecrated in 1266 by Bishop Jan Prandota. It was later consumed by fire in 1447. It was ravaged again in the 17th century by the invading Swedish army. The abbey was destroyed and its entire resident population was killed by the Swedes, except for two monks whose lives were spared. The structure was renovated numerous times. The Baroque façade of the monastery church was added in 1779–80, based on a design by Franz Moser.
Under the reign of Abbot Erazm Ciołek (a relative of the noted scholar, Bishop Erazm Ciołek of Płock), who was elected as abbot in 1522, the abbey was restored to its former glory, with a greatly expanded collection of rare books. He died two years after being appointed the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kraków in 1544, and was buried in the abbey cemetery.
This abbot employed the services of the Polish Renaissance painter Stanisław Samostrzelnik, known also as Stanisław z Mogiły (c. 1490-1541), who spent his final years working at the abbey, where he died. His frescoes are featured in the right-hand transept and in one of the chapels of the monastery church, including his painting on the forward wall of the chancel from c. 1530.
The architectural complex includes the stuccoed Polish Gothic church, the Basilica of the Holy Cross, which serves as the Parish Church of St. Bartholomew the Apostle as well as the abbey church for the monks. There is also the Polish Renaissance-style abbot's palace, built around 1569, as well as the red-brick monastery, with a broad inner courtyard, outbuildings, vegetable garden, greenhouse, etc.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.