In the year 1196, the Archbishop of Cologne summoned monks from the Cistercian Abbey in Hardhausen to establish a new abbey in a former Premonstratensian convent nearby that had been founded in 1170 but disbanded shortly thereafter. As abbey and landholder, the Zisterze Breidelare would go on to spur the economic, intellectual and spiritual growth of the northeast Sauerland region.
The Bredelar Abbey thrived for a good 600 years. In the 13th century its distinguished scriptorium produced the three-volume, richly illuminated Bredelar Bible, which is today kept in the Hessian State and University Library in Darmstadt. Other manuscripts from the abbey's library are preserved today in Wiesbaden, Berlin, Boston, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Paris and Washington. The remaining building fabric of the abbey is based on a construction plan from 1726.
In 1804 the abbey was disbanded in the course of secularisation. From 1828 to 1932, the monastery was home to an ironworks and foundry called Theodorshütte. Theodorshütte was initially set up as both smeltery and foundry of iron, with the first of its three blast furnaces erected in the former abbey church. From 1876 the iron foundry formed the centre of operations, producing extremely large machine parts, building components, iron window frames and stoves. In the latter half of the 20th century, the building progressively deteriorated and fell into disrepair. In 2000, the friends' society Kloster Bredelar e.V. was founded with the aim of restoring the complex for use as a community and cultural centre.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.