The Clarissa (Poor Clares) order nunnery in Ribnitz was one of the last nunnerys or monasteries to be founded in the dutchy of Mecklenburg. In 1323, Duke Heinrich II von Mecklenburg bequeathed to the Franciscans his court stronghold in the southeast of the town of Ribnitz. The first four nuns arrived from the Clarissa nunnery in the Westphalian town of Weißenfels. In 1330, the nunnery is consecrated, while today's church facility was begun in 1361, and was consecrated in 1393.
The church is a broad, vaulted Brick Gothic hall composed of six narrow right angled bays supported by inwards-facing support pillars lacking a fixed ambulatory. The church is flanked at its east and west gables by a small tower. In the east of the nave, a wooden gallery for the nuns remains today, having preserved much of its original form, most notably nuns' stalls installed ca. 1400.
The nunnery church is the last remaining building of the late medieval nunnery site still remaining largely intact in tis original form. Its interior was rebuilt in 1840 in a neo-Gothic style.
During the Reformation Ribnitz Abbey was turned into an aristocratic convent. The transfer of the contents of the convent to the Duke and the devestating consequences of the 30 Years' War led to the collapse of the convent.
In 2006, restoration work on the former forewoman's house was completed. Today, the Ribnitz-Damgarten German Museum of Amber is housed in this and adjoining buildings. During restoration work the remains of the north wall of the dormitory where discovered, which have now been excavated and can be seen by visitors. The convent houses are today in demand apartments; the presence of the Museum, the town library, the Nunnery Gallery and the town archive have converted the nunnery site into a cultural centre of the town.
The nunnery still houses a number of outstanding wooden icons, the so-called 'Ribnitz Madonnas'. The figures were originally part of the nunnery church's altars, and were made over several centuries, from the start of the 14th century through to the first half of the 16th. They are of outstanding quality, having largely preserved their authentic original colour scheme.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.