Marcevol Priory is situated at an altitude of 500 metres on a plateau overlooking the Tet Valley. The Priory was built in the 12th century by the religious order of Saint Sepulchre. In 1129 the Bishop of Elne donated them the small church, as well as some surrounding out-buildings. These were monks following the rules of Saint Augustine. The Order of Saint Sepulchre was founded in 1099 after the crusades and the conquest of Jerusalem; its mission was to watch over Christ’s tomb. The Order quickly spread throughout Europe, and received possessions and donations. Marcevol was one of its communities from 1129 to 1484, the year the Pope ordered its dissolution.
In 1484 the building came under the aegis of a community of priests in the parish of Vinça. It was at this time that an altarpiece dedicated to the Virgin was installed in the apse. The community also attached itself to the pardons of the Virgin organisation. This was an old tradition associated with the mother of a Pope travelling to Compostella. She was later buried in the parish church. Marcevol thus became a place of pilgrimage, attracting hundreds of pilgrims hoping to obtain Grace and Indulgence. It is the most important pilgrimage in the Conflent, and every 3rd May a mass is celebrated in Marcevol.
During the French Revolution, the Priory was sold as a National Property; it became the centre of a large agricultural exploitation. The buildings suffered from lack of repair. Then in the 1970’s, to prevent further decay and ruin, the Association de Monastir de Marcevols started doing voluntary building work. They made the Priory into a centre for people with spiritual, artistic and therapeutic callings. In 2001 the association became the ‘Fondation du Prieurie de Marcevol’. It is recognised as a public utility, and continues its public vocation by offering accommodation for groups and school trips, and other cultural activities.
The priory has a remarkable pink marble façade.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.