Pietrapelosa is a castle in the Croatian part of Istria, now ruined. In the medieval period a family took their name from the castle. 'Pietrapelosa' comes from the Italian words meaning 'hairy stone' after the moss that has always grown on the walls of the castle. It is one of the best-preserved of the Istrian castles.
Pietrapelosa is a few kilometers west of Buzet in a strategic location at the head of the Bračana valley. It is first mentioned in a document of 965 AD. in a deed recording its gift by Rodaold, patriarch of Aquileia to the bishopric of Poreč. In the 13th century it was given to a family of German knights who assumed the name of the castle, 'de Pietrapelosa'. The castle was the seat of the Aquileian lieutenant governor of Istria. The Venetian commander Taddeo d'Este conquered the castle and abolished the secular rule of the patriarchs of Aquileia in 1421, with Istria being divided between the Republic of Venice and the Habsburg County of Pazin. The Venetian Council of Tengranted the castle to the nobleman Nicolò Gravisi in 1440, giving him the title if Marquis of Pietrapelosa. He renovated the castle for use as a summer residence. In 1635 a fire destroyed the interior of the castle, but it was restored and inhabited until the 18th century. The Gravis family owned the castle until the final abolition of the feudal system in 1869. They were the only aristocratic family in Koper to own such an estate.
The castle was surrounded by three-story walls, which are still intact. It included a main four-story polygonal watchtower, sometimes also used as a residence. There was also a house and a palace chapel of St. Mary Magdalene dating from the 12th century. The chapel is built in the classic Istrian style with one nave and a bell tower. A residential area was built on a crag beside the castle with no walls. The castle avoided destruction throughout the many wars that ravaged Istria. However, it fell into ruin after being abandoned, and has only recently been restored. From the castle there is a dramatic view of Northern Istria.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.