The easternmost peaks of the Alps have been the natural border between the Latin, German and Slav worlds since time immemorial. Today, in a time of peace, they still speak the languages of these peoples and their valleys are places of friendship and cooperation.
Attracting pilgrims from three lands, the shrine of Monte Lussari, in the northeastern corner of Italy, is truly European and a symbol of this peaceful coexistence. According to ancient folklore, the sanctuary has its origins in 1360 following a series of miraculous events: a shepherd found sheep from his flock kneeling around a bush. With amazement, he realised that a statuette of the Virgin and Child was at the centre of the bush. The shepherd gave it to the priest of Camporosso, but the following morning, the statue was found on Lussari with the kneeling sheep surrounding it again. The event repeated itself a third time. Having been informed, the Patriarch of Aquileia ordered that a chapel be built on the spot.
There is no trace left of the original chapel; the current building is the result of the restoration and extension of a 16th Century building. The sanctuary is accessible by foot via the picturesque Sentiero del Pellegrino (Pilgrim’s Path) that winds through the forest of Tarvisio, or with the cable car from Camporosso.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.