Weingarten Abbey was founded in 1056 by Welf I, Duke of Bavaria. The name Weingarten (vineyard) is documented from about 1123. He settled it with monks from Altomünster Abbey. In 1126, Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, withdrew here after his abdication; he died the same year and was buried in the abbey church.
The monks worked, among other things, at manuscript illumination. Their most famous work is the Berthold Sacramentary of 1217, now in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Also of especial note is the Welfenchronik, written and illustrated in about 1190, chronicling and glorifying the House of Welf which had its seat at Ravensburg nearby.
The monastery was elevated to the status of a Reichsabtei, independent of all territorial lordship except that of the emperor, in 1274. It acquired territory of 306 km2, stretching from the Allgäu to the Bodensee and including many forests and vineyards, and was one of the richest monasteries in southern Germany.
From 1715, the Romanesque abbey church, constructed between 1124 and 1182, was largely demolished, and replaced between 1715–24 by a large and richly decorated Baroque church, which since 1956 has been a papal basilica minor. This church was intended to stand within a monastic site built to the ideal layout, but this undertaking was only partially completed as the north wing would have blocked the via regia or imperial road. Following the order on April 27, 1728 to stop construction on the north wing, the southern wing was extended and the east wing was completed.
In 1803, during the German Mediatisation, the abbey was dissolved. At first, it became part of the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda, and then in 1806 part of the Kingdom of Württemberg. The buildings were used inter alia as a factory and as a barracks.
In 1922, Weingarten was re-founded and re-settled by Benedictines from Beuron Archabbey and from the English Abbey of Erdington (in a suburb of Birmingham) which had itself been settled from Beuron. In 1940, the monks were expelled by the National Socialists, but were able to return after the end of the war.
The abbey and the St. Martin's Basilica are a major attraction on the tourist route known as the Upper Swabian Baroque Route. The current church was built between 1715 and 1724 in the Italian-German Baroque style according to plans by Franz Beer. The church is the second largest church in Germany, and is the largest Baroque church in Germany. The 102 meter long church is known as the 'Swabian St. Peter's' since this church is almost exactly one-half the size of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Within the church is the famous Gabler Organ, a church organ that was built between 1735 and 1750 by Joseph Gabler. The organ has over 60 registers, 169 ranks, 63 voices and over 6600 pipes. It is considered the 44th largest organ in the world.
A wing of the abbey precincts accommodates the present monastery. Other parts of the former abbey house the Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten and the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
The greatest treasure of Weingarten was its famous relic of the Precious Blood, still preserved in the church of Weingarten. Being miraculously discovered in 804, the relic was solemnly exalted by Pope Saint Leo III, but again buried during the Hungarian and Norman invasions. In 1048 it was re-discovered and solemnly exalted by Pope Saint Leo IX in the presence of the emperor, Henry III, and many other dignitaries. It was divided into three parts, one of which the pope took to Rome, another was given to the emperor, Henry III, and the third remained at Mantua. Henry III bequeathed his share of the relic to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, who gave it to his daughter Juditha. After her marriage to Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, Juditha presented the relic to Weingarten. The solemn presentation took place in 1090, on the Friday after the feast of the Ascension, and it was stipulated that annually on the same day, which came to be known as Blutfreitag, the relic should be carried in solemn procession.
The procession was prohibited in 1812, but since 1849 it has again taken place every year. It is popularly known as the Blutritt. The relic is carried by a rider, der heilige Blutritter, on horseback, followed by many other riders, and many thousands of people on foot. The reliquary, formerly of solid gold, set with numerous jewels, and valued at about 70,000 florins, was confiscated by the Government at the suppression of the monastery and replaced by a gilded copper imitation.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.