Cambuskenneth Abbey is a ruined Augustinian monastery founded of David I around the year 1140. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was initially known as the Abbey of St Mary of Stirling and sometimes simply as Stirling Abbey. The major street leading down the castle hill from the royal residences in Stirling Castle to the abbey was called St. Mary's Wynd, a name it retains.
Cambuskenneth was one of the more important abbeys in Scotland, due in part to its proximity to the Royal Burgh of Stirling, a leading urban centre of the country and sometime capital. Its status as a royal abbey in the neighbourhood of a major national stronghold may be compared to that of Holyrood Abbey vis à vis Edinburgh. Royalty, including Edward Longshanks (King of England) and later Robert the Bruce (King of Scots), prayed regularly at the abbey. Bruce held his parliament there in 1326 to confirm the succession of his son David II.
In 1486 Margaret of Denmark died at Stirling Castle and was buried at the abbey. In 1488 her husband James III was murdered at the Battle of Sauchieburn and his body was brought to Cambuskenneth Abbey for burial. The elaborate marker of his grave, which was funded by Queen Victoria, is still visible at one end of the church.
The abbey fell into disuse during the Scottish Reformation. By 1559 there were few monks remaining there, and the abbey was closed and most of the buildings looted and burned. The abbey was placed under the jurisdiction of the military governor of Stirling Castle, who had much of the stonework removed and used in construction projects in the castle.
Of the once wealthy abbey, mostly only knee-high ruins and exposed foundations remain. Only the 13th century campanile is intact, following an extensive renovation in 1859. The abbey was acquired by the crown in 1908, and it is managed by Historic Scotland. The abbey is open to visitors during the summer months. Visitors can enter the base room of the campanile; the stairs to the upper floors are locked, but are opened for visitors on occasion.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.