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Krakow's Cloth Hall, the Renaissance monument of commerce
The world's arguably oldest shopping mall has been in business in the middle of Krakow's central Grand Square (Rynek Glowny) for 700 years. Circa 1300 a roof was put over two rows of stalls to form the first Sukiennice building – Cloth Hall – where the textile trade used to go on. It was extended into an imposing Gothic structure 108 meter long and eight meter wide in the second half of the 14th century.

Refurbishment of Krakow's Cloth Hall
After the 1555 fire the Cloth Hall was rebuilt as a splendid Renaissance edifice with an ornate roof adorned with grotesque masks by Santi Gucci. Also the picturesque stairs and galleries on both ends of the building date from the 16th century.

During the 1875-1879 refurbishment the outside arcades and central transepts were added.

Shopping center and art gallery
Nowadays stalls on the ground floor and shops in the arcades mostly sell assorted souvenirs.

Upstairs, since the 1880s the Krakow National Museum has exhibited its unparalleled collection of the 19-century Polish art, including Jan Matejko's famous movie-like giant paintings.

One of two Cloth Hall's spacious cafes, the Noworolski’s on the east side, has been opened since 1910 when it got its present elegant Art Nouveau decor.

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Additional Photos by Silvio Garda (Jeppo) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1804 W: 10 N: 1772] (17645)
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