The Stoa of Attalos was a covered walkway or portico in the Agora of Athens. It was built by and named after King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled between 159 BC and 138 BC. The current building was reconstructed in 1952–1956 by American architects along with the Greek architect Ioannis Travlos and the Greek Civil Engineer Yeoryios Biris.
Typical of the Hellenistic age, the stoa was more elaborate and larger than the earlier buildings of ancient Athens. The stoa's dimensions are 115 by 20 metres and it is made of Pentelic marble and limestone. The building skillfully makes use of different architectural orders. The Doric order was used for the exterior colonnade on the ground floor with Ionic for the interior colonnade. This combination had been used in stoas since the Classical period and was by Hellenistic times quite common. On the first floor of the building, the exterior colonnade was Ionic and the interior Pergamene. Each story had two aisles and twenty-one rooms lining the western wall. The rooms of both stories were lighted and vented through doorways and small windows located on the back wall. There were stairways leading up to the second story at each end of the stoa.
The stoa is identified as a gift to the city of Athens for the education that Attalos received there. A dedicatory inscription engraved on the architrave states that it was built by Attalos II, who was ruler of Pergamon from 159 BC to 138 BC.
The stoa was in frequent use until it was destroyed by the Heruli in 267. The ruins became part of a fortification wall, which made it easily seen in modern times. In 1952-1956, the stoa was fully reconstructed and the Ancient Agora Museum was created by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, with funding donated by the Rockefeller family.
The Stoa of Attalos houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora. Its exhibits are mostly connected with the Athenian democracy. The collection of the museum includes clay, bronze and glass objects, sculptures, coins and inscriptions from the 7th to the 5th century BC, as well as pottery of the Byzantine period and the Turkish conquest.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.