Ludwigslust Palace had its origins in a simple hunting lodge within a day's ride of the ducal capital, Schwerin. In 1724 Prince Christian Ludwig, the son of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, decided to build a hunting lodge on this site, near a hamlet called Klenow. Even after he became duke in his turn in 1747, he passed most of his time at this residence, which he called Ludwigslust ('Ludwig's joy').
In 1765, Duke Friederich made Ludwigslust the capital of the duchy instead of Schwerin. Consequently the little town that had already grown in the service of the schloss, was further expanded, and a cornerstone for a new, grander residenz was laid directly behind the old hunting box in 1768. In the years 1772-1776 Ludwigslust was rebuilt to late Baroque plans by Johann Joachim Busch. The structure is brick, clad in the local sandstone; forty over-lifesize allegorical figures, also in sandstone, by Rudolf Kaplunger, alternating with vases, crown the low attic above the cornice.
The interiors of Ludwigslust are more fully neoclassical. The grand reception rooms are on the piano nobile, or Festetage ('Reception floor'), above a low ground floor that contained guestrooms. The Goldener Saal ('Gilded Hall') in the central block rises through two storeys, with a colossal order of Corinthian columns and massive decorations carried out in stucco and the innovative moldable and modelable paper-maché called Ludwigsluster Carton; it is used today for summertime concerts. One flanking range was semi-public, with a sequence of antechamber, salon and audience chamber, and a gallery. The opposite range was semi-private, with the Duke's drawing-room and bedchamber (hung with framed miniatures), a cabinet and a gallery with a porcelain chimneypiece.
The palace's surrounding Schlosspark of 120 ha. was laid out with formal canals, fountains and a frankly artificial cascade, tamed of all the wildness that a later, Romantic generation would venerate; it was built according to sketches by the French architect Jean-Laurent Le Geay, who had laid out the formal garden at Schwerin in 1749-55, but was quickly overtaken at Ludwigslust by his assistant, Johann Joachim Busch, who began the work in 1763. The trees laid out in the pattern and at the scale of Bernini's colonnades in Piazza San Pietro have disappeared, but there are the neoclassical stone bridge designed by Busch about 1780, with a cascade that falls across a lip so perfectly regular that it has the name Der Waltze (the 'Roll'), a grotto built as a ruin, a Gothic chapel, two mausoleums and a monument to a favourite horse.
In 1837 Grand Duke Paul Friedrich returned Schwerin to its capital status. As a summer residence, Schloss Ludwigslust was preserved from further alterations. In the mid-nineteenth century much of the park was re-landscaped in the more naturalistic English landscape garden manner, under the direction of a garden designer with an extensive clientele among the German aristocracy, Peter Joseph Lenné. Water near the schloss was recast in more naturalistic manner and the surrounding woodland edges were varied, with clumps of trees as outliers, but the main axia Hofdamenallee centered on the palace, still stretches dead straight through the woods, and the narrow Great Canal, laid out at an angle to one side, still extends a kilometer and a half.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.