The first trading stalls were built in Kraków around 1257 on the initiative of prince Bolesław the Chaste. They were a double row of initially wooden buildings, forming a small street in the middle of the market square, which was closed on both sides for the night. Around 1358 king Casimir the Great founded a new, brick, gothic building of the cloth hall, and the so-called Rich Stalls, which replaced the earlier Bolesław’s Stalls. The gothic cloth halls was destroyed during a fire in 1555. In the years 1556-1559, the cloth hall was renovated in accordance with the renaissance style reigning in the architecture at that time. The work was led by master Pankracy, who closed the great hall of the cloth hall with barrel vault. The building was topped with an attic with arcaded divisions and a ridge with gargoyles designed by Santi Gucci. The column loggias designed by Jan Maria Padovano were also added. In 1601, the passage was pirced in the middle of the market hall length, significantly improving communication between the western and eastern part of the market square. In the 19th century, as part of organizing the market, the hall was also rebuilt. The avant-corps were added on the east-west axis and the one-story arcades were built.
The gothic cloth hall from the 14th-15th century was a hall with a length of 108 m and a width of 10 meters. On two sides, two rows of stalls were added to a depth of 7,5 m. In the long axis there were 18 stalls, which were covered with vaults, and open to the interior with pointed or semicircular portals. On the southern and northern sides, double, pointed, arched arcades were built. From the east to the cloth hall adhered the so-called Rich Stalls. These were brick rooms of 5×2,5 meters with basements. Various luxury goods were traded in these stalls.
Today, the cloth hall is one of the most characteristic and best-known places in Kraków, as well as one of the outstanding works of the renaissance. They serve nowadays as trade stands, mainly with jewelery, souvenirs and handicrafts. On the first floor there is the Gallery of Polish Painting and Sculpture of the nineteenth century, and in the basement you can see relics of medieval Kraków, including fragments of paved roads, relics of the first stalls, old waterworks and many more.
Marek M, Cracovia 3d, Kraków 2011.
Website wikipedia.org, Sukiennice w Krakowie.