Ursberg Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery, now a convent of the Franciscan St. Joseph's Congregation. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist, was founded between 1126 and 1128 by the nobleman Wernher of Schwabegg-Balzhausen. It was the first Premonstratensian foundation in southern Germany. The monastery became an Imperial abbey in 1143.
As was usual with early Premonstratensian foundations, this was originally a double monastery, with a separate nunnery, which lasted until at least 1320 or so. Ursberg was very active in its early years in settling other Premonstratensian houses. This was largely due to the energetic prior Grimo, who was later declared Blessed. In 1128 Osterhofen near Passau was established, followed in about 1130 by Roggenburg Abbey and in 1135 by Kaisheim Abbey. In 1140 Premonstratensians from Ursberg took over Schäftlarn Abbey and in 1142 Bishop Otto of Freising used them for the foundation of Neustift.
The church was built in about 1230. Originally a Romanesque structure, it was refurbished in the Baroque style by the master builder of Wettenhausen Abbey, Josef Dossenberger the younger. The ceiling frescoes by Jakob Fröschle and Konrad Huber also stem from this period.
The Romanesque cross with the attendant figures of the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist is of especial note. The high altar is by J. Pflaum. The organ was built by Johann Nepomuk Holzhey.
The abbey was dissolved in 1803 in the course of the secularisation of Bavaria. The church became the parish church, and the priest's house and the regional court (Landgericht) of Krumbach were accommodated in the former monastic premises. In 1884 Father Dominikus Ringeisen managed to acquire the buildings, which were by then empty, where he set up a community of sisters for the care of the physically and mentally handicapped, now known as the Dominikus-Ringeisen-Werk. This endeavour developed into the St. Joseph's Congregation of Ursberg, a Franciscan community of about 270 sisters. In Ursberg, along with branches in Maria Bildhausen, the former Holzen Abbey, Pfaffenhausen and Breitbrunn am Ammersee, about 2,500 handicapped people are provided with accommodation and work, care and home.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.