The Old Royal Palace is the first royal palace of modern Greece, completed in 1843. It has housed the Hellenic Parliament since 1934. The Old Palace is situated at the heart of modern Athens, facing onto Syntagma Square.
The palace was designed by Bavarian architect Friedrich von Gärtner for King Otto of Greece and his wife, Queen Amalia, with funds donated by Otto's father, King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Previous proposals had placed the new palace at the sites of Omonoia Square, Kerameikos and even on top the Acropolis of Athens.
Construction work started in 1836 and was completed in 1843. As it served originally as a palace for the Greek monarchs for about a century, it is sometimes still referred to as the 'Old Palace'.
After suffering fire damage in 1909, it entered a long period of renovation. During renovations the King and his family moved to the Crown Prince's Palace, from then on known as the 'New Palace', one block to the east on Herodou Attikou Street.
Some of the royal family, chiefly the dowager Queen Olga, continued to reside in the 'Old Palace' until 1922. In 1924, a referendum abolished the monarchy. The building was then used for many different purposes—housing a variety of government and public services in the 1920s, functioning as a makeshift hospital during World War II, a refugee shelter for Greek refugees from Asia Minor in 1922, a museum with the personal effects of King George I (now part of the collection of the National Historical Museum), and other uses.
In November 1929 the government decided that the building would permanently house Parliament (previously housed in what is now called the Old Parliament House). After more extensive renovations, the Senate convened in the 'Old Palace' on 2 August 1934, followed by the Fifth National Assembly on 1 July 1935. Although the monarchy was restored that same year, the building has housed Parliament ever since.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.