Rüegsau Priory was a 12th-century Swiss monastery of Benedictine nuns. The origins of the community are unrecorded, but it is presumed to have been founded by Thüring of Lützelflüh, the founder of Trub Abbey, in the first half of the 12th century. A provost or prior is recorded for the first time in 1256. From the 13th century the names of the female heads of house, or Meisterinnen, are recorded (with gaps). Between 1508 and 1516, an abbess (Margareta von Freiberg) is recorded. The nunnery was governed spiritually by the abbot of Trub. The priory acquired a number of scattered estates, which by around 1500 amounted to some hundred farms and other properties.
In 1495 the conventual buildings burnt down, but were rebuilt thanks to the generosity and favour of the authorities of Bern. At the same time the priory bell was presented which now hangs in the church of Rüegsau.
The priory was dissolved in 1528 during the Reformation. Its goods were used to provide income for the priests of Rüegsau and Lützelflüh, and part of the buildings was used to provide a priest's house. The remaining buildings were gradually dismantled: the last traces of the walls were removed between 1825 and 1831.
The priory church became the village church. It was renovated in 1789–1790 and extended in 1874. Further renovations took place in 1947, 1990 and 1999. The church contains some notable stained glass windows by the contemporary artist Walter Loosli.
A small permanent exhibition on the nunnery's history can be seen in the parish house of Rüegsauschachen, displaying finds from excavations in 1964, 1965–1968 and 1978–1979 (for example, colour-glazed oven tiles, shards of pottery, tools and the fragments of a reliquary box). The excavations also unearthed a statue of the Virgin Mary from the time of the nunnery, of which a copy stands in the hall next to the church.
The priory owned the still-extant chapel of Saint Blaise in the neighbouring hamlet of Rüegsbach, which has the oldest church bells in Switzerland (12th and 13th centuries).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.