Lubiąż Abbey, also commonly known as Leubus Abbey, is a former Cistercian monastery. The abbey, established in 1175, is one of the largest Christian architectural complexes in the world and is considered a masterpiece of Baroque Silesian architecture.
The abbey is situated near a ford across the Oder river, where a Benedictine monastery and church of Saint James may have been established about 1150, but had already been abandoned before 1163. At this time the area belonged to the Duchy of Silesia, bequeathed by Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland to his eldest son Władysław II in 1138. In a fratricidal conflict of the Polish Piast dynasty, Władysław was expelled by his younger brother and fled to Altenburg in the Holy Roman Empire. With the aid by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, however, his sons were restored to their Silesian heritage in 1163.
Władysław's eldest son, Duke Bolesław I the Tall, had spent several years in German exile. When he assumed the rule of Lower Silesia, he invited Cistercian monks from Pforta Abbey on the Saale River (in present-day Thuringia) and settled them in Lubiąż as the first of their order in Silesia. The first monastery complex was under construction up to 1175, when Duke Bolesław I issued the official foundation charter at Grodziec Castle. Through drainage works the monks reclaimed land in the swampy environs of the monastery, implemented three-field crop rotation and laid out vineyards. Their efforts were successful and marked the beginning of the medieval German Ostsiedlung to Silesia.
About 1200 the abbey church was rebuilt, at that time the first Brick Gothic building in the region. When Duke Bolesław I died in 1201, he was buried here. The rise of Leubus continued under the rule of his son Duke Henry I the Bearded and his consort Hedwig of Andechs. In 1202 the couple established Trzebnica Abbey, which in 1220 became a daughter house of Leubus by order of Pope Honorius III. It was followed by the establishment in 1222 of Mogiła Abbey in Lesser Poland and Henryków Abbey in 1227. In 1249 the monks of Leubus took over the former Augustinian abbey of Kamieniec and in 1256 even established a monastery at Byszewo in Kuyavia, relocated to Koronowo in 1288.
From 1249 to 1844, the place held town privileges. In 1327 the Silesian duke Henry VI the Good declared himself a vassal of King John of Bohemia, and when he died without male heirs in 1335, his lands including Leubus fell to the Kingdom of Bohemia. The monastery complex was devastated by the Hussite Wars, and furthermore the monks were expelled by warlike Duke Jan II the Mad in 1492, who turned the abbey into a hunting lodge. The Cistercians were not able to return until Jan II retired to Frankfurt an der Oder in Brandenburg. In the 16th century the abbey had to deal with the Protestant Reformation and the inheritance of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown by the Austrian House of Habsburg. During the Thirty Years' War, Leubus was occupied and plundered by Swedish troops in 1638.
The Cistercians were expelled from Lubiąż in 1810 by King Frederick William III of Prussia.
During World War II, the buildings of the former abbey were used for secret research laboratories and manufacturing facilities, among other things for the development of radar components. The engines for V1 and V2 rockets (using prisoners for labour) were manufactured in Lubiąż. At the end of the war, the former abbey housed soldiers of the Red Army, and then a Russian military psychiatric hospital, with significant damage. Decades of neglect followed.
Since 1989, the abbey has been under renovation and has become a significant tourist destination.
The area of the roofs is about 25,000 square metres. The façade, with a length of 223 m, is the longest in Europe after that of El Escorial in Spain. In the crypts are 98 well-preserved mummies of Silesian dukes.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.