A cloth hall or linen hall (German: Gewandhaus; Polish: Sukiennice; French: Halle aux draps; Dutch: Lakenhal; Swedish: Saluhall) is a historic building located in the centre of the main marketplace of a European town. Cloth halls were built from mediaeval times into the 18th century.
A cloth hall contained trading stalls for the sale, particularly, of cloth but also of leather, wax, salt, and exotic imports such as silks and spices.
In Poland, the most famous existing cloth-hall building is Kraków's Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), rebuilt in 1555 in Renaissance style. The 14th-century Gothic cloth hall in Toruń is preserved as part of the Old Town Market Hall.
Kraków's Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), photo ca. 1870
Gothic cloth hall in Old Town Market Hall, Toruń, Poland
The rebuilt, third Leipzig Gewandhaus is home to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall) in Brunswick, Germany
Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall) in Zwickau, Germany
Rebuilt, third Leipzig Gewandhaus concert hall (opened 1981)
Belgium and Netherlands
Examples of cloth halls in Belgium include the Ypres Cloth Hall and cloth halls in Bruges, Leuven, and Tournai. Leuven's Linen-Hall is in an early-Gothic style, with baroque addition, and now serves as the Leuven University Hall.
Britain and Ireland
Notes and references
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- The World's Best Squares, PPS website, Making Places, December 2005