The Temple of Hephaestus is a well-preserved Greek temple located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens; it remains standing largely as built. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient god of fire and Athena, goddess of pottery and crafts. According to the archeologists, the temple was built around 450 BCE. at the western edge of the city, on top of Agoreos Koronos hill, and it is a classical example of Dorian architecture. The temple was designed by Iktinus, one of the talented architects who also worked on Parthenon, However, many other craftsmen worked at this fantastic temple.
The temple has 6 columns on the short east and west sides and 13 on the north and south sides. Its friezes and other decorations have been greatly damaged by earthquakes and invasions along the centuries. The temple is located in Thissio, within a short distance from the Acropolis and Monastiraki, just above the Ancient Agora and the Stoa of Attalos. It was built from Pentelic marble, while its sculptures are made of Parian marble. It has a pronaos, a cella and an opisthodomos. The temple is peripheral, with columns that surround the central enclosed cella. Both of them are decorated with friezes.
The east and west sides of the temple are shorter whereas the north and the south sides are longer. On the eastern front of the temple, there are sculptures depicting the labors of Hercules and the battle of Thesseus with the Pallentides, the fifty children of Pallas. On the west side the sculptures depict the fall of Troy.
From the 7th century A.D. till 1834, this temple was an Orthodox church dedicated to Saint George Akamatus. The last Holy Mass took place in February 1833, when King Otto arrived in Greece. In the 19th century, the temple was used as a burial place for the non-Orthodox Europeans and philhellenes. Actually, the archeological excavations revealed many graves. In 1834, King Otto ordered the building to be used as a museum where it actually remained as such until 1934. Today, this temple is one of the greatest ancient monuments in Greece. Reconstruction and excavation works are still carried out.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.