Hall – History – Gallery


The market square is divided into two parts by the 100-meter long Cloth Hall, which, next to St. Mary's Church and Wawel, are the most famous architectural symbols of Krakow. From its thirteenth-century beginnings, it was primarily a strong bastion of Kraków's monopoly trade and a place of city celebrations. W XIX w. "Promoted" to the noble role of a cultural haven. Inside, where there are souvenir stalls in two rows, handicraft, jewelry, works and works of folk art, it is always crowded and noisy. On the walls you can see the coats of arms of Polish cities as well as merchant and guild emblems. There are benches in front of the Cloth Hall, and from time to time a security guard on a bicycle will pass by, looking passers-by in the eyes. On the south side of the Cloth Hall there is an entrance to the gallery of Polish painting of the 18th and 19th centuries. and, right next to it, to the known, the very popular Noworolski cafe, in which at the end of the 19th century. The entire elite of Kraków at that time met.

The history of the Cloth Hall

After the city was founded in 1257 r. The buildings necessary for the functioning of the urban organism were erected in the Market Square. Among them, two rows of merchant stalls grew. Events room woolen (cloth shop) first appeared in documents from 1312 r., which coincided with the city granted to St. 1306 r. by Władysław Łokietek with a privilege known as the right of composition. It consisted of this, that every merchant, who was passing through Krakow, he had to stop here and sell his goods to Krakow merchants. Then he could go on. Such regulations revived and strengthened Kraków's trade in the area of ​​the Cloth Hall, where mainly cloth was traded. W XIV c. thanks to Casimir the Great, the Cloth Hall was expanded into a three-nave hall with a length 108 and width 18 m, and two centuries later, a major renovation after a fire gave the building a Renaissance-mannerist character. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were remembered as the time of the lush flowering of Krakow, the prosperity of trade and population growth. Nothing unusual, that it was during this period that one of the Krakow merchants financed the construction of a cross passage through the hall from east to west in order to improve traffic, which created the so-called communication cross. In the nineteenth century, as part of tidying up the city, the neglected Cloth Hall was almost closed. However, fate gave Kraków wise councilors and President Józef Dietl, who decided to restore commercial Mecca to its former glory. Young, talented architect Tomasz Pryliński (supported by Matejko) adapted the Cloth Hall to the new surroundings of the empty Market Square, he added arcades of arcades, he improved the interior of the first floor, He decorated the gables of the attic with mercilessly distorted caricatures of city dignitaries, and he breathed a lot of palace dignity into the whole.

Gallery in Sukiennice

The gallery started with the painter Henryk Siemiradzki, which in 1879 r. he gave the city his dramatic painting The Torches of Nero. Four years later, the gallery was officially opened.

The most space is occupied by the painting by Piotr Michałowski – an outstanding representative of Romanticism, but the historical canvases of Jan Matejko attract the most attention: Prussian Homage, Wernyhora and Kościuszko near Racławice. Moreover, there are paintings by Malczewski, Gottlieba, Rodakowski, Grottger, Chełmoński, Chmielowski (Brother Albert), Gerson and the oldest canvases by Bacciarelli in this collection. Many, not always healthy, in his time, the eroticistic Frenzy of Podkowiński aroused emotions, showing a naked diva on a fiery steed.