The Church of John the Baptist (Johanniskirche) is the oldest Lutheran church in Lüneburg, Germany. The church is considered an important example of northern German Brick Gothic architecture. The five-naved hall church was erected between 1300 and 1370 and repaired in 1420. In the early 15th century Conrad of Soltau, as Conrad III Prince-Bishop of Verden, failed to make St. John's the new cathedral of his see, since the city council and the Prince of Lüneburg resisted that fearing the political interference of another power. The outer structure was marked by rebuilding in 1765. Particularly striking is the lightly sloping steeple, which at a height of 108 meters is the highest church steeple in Lower Saxony. The stained-glass in the Elisabeth Chapel was made by Charles Crodel in 1969.
The church's organ was finished in 1553 by Hendrik Niehoff and Jasper Johansen and rebuilt in 1714 by Arp Schnitger student, Matthias Dropa and in the latter 20th century by Rudolf von Beckerath.
The 108-meter-high spire of the church looks as though it is sloping from each side: the truss on the upper part is twisted into a corkscrew shape. A legend states that when the master builder noticed the mistake, he fell from an upper window in the church tower; however, he landed on a passing haywagon, so he lived. Feeling that he had been vindicated by God, the master went into a local tavern to celebrate. After a few too many drinks he leaned back in his chair and fell over. As he fell he hit his head on the stone hearth of the fireplace and was killed.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.