The lives of a Polish market

Having the good fortune to be living 2 minutes walk from one of Kraków’s few remaining open air markets, it is a place I always enjoy visiting. Hala Targowa can be found on ul. Grzegorzecka close to the viaduct. The market is a throwback to days of old, when shopping involved buying one or two items in one shop, and needing to go to three or four other shops to find all required items. However, Hala Targowa is found in a compact setting with all stalls and shops within seconds walk of each other. The options of items on sale vary from fruit and vegetables, to fresh bread and baked goods, and also meat, dairy products, flowers and some clothing.

An interesting point to note though, is the profile of the clientele who frequent the market. The vast majority of those who shop there seem to be older people, not far from retirement age (if they have not already retired). In fact, the only younger people who are regularly found there tend to be children (or other relatives) of the stall-owners and shop-keepers who are helping out for the day. It would seem that the younger generation don’t wish to go to the old-fashioned markets, instead preferring the new ‘Galeria’ shopping centres, with their multitude of shops and air-conditioned settings. However, I find Hala Targowa to be better in many ways than the Centra Handlowy, especially when buying fresh fruit, vegetables and bread. The prices are usually very cheap, and the freshness is excellent. It is a great feeling to walk through the market, and take in the wonderful smells of fruit that are fresh in season. To be able to feel and touch the fruit and vegetables for quality and freshness is a good customer experience.

Hala Targowa has an interesting ‘twist’ though, in a similar way to comic book superheroes. By day (Monday to Saturday), it operates as a regular market, with fruit, vegetables, bread, meat, etc. on offer. However by night (Sundays) the market is transformed into a Targ Staroci (market of old things, for a literal translation). On Sunday mornings, the market becomes the Polish version of a car-boot sale (UK version) or yard-sale (US version). People who wish to sell anything come along and claim a space to display their wares. On a walk there earlier today, I saw items such as bicycles, coins, DVDs, school books, kitchenware and delph, paintings and army memorabilia for sale. It is amazing to wander through the market and see so much junk for sale. Of course though, one mans junk is another mans treasure, or so the sellers hope. It is interesting to see one guy selling coins and asking 1,500 PLN for one coin beside an old man trying to sell old unwanted books for 1.50PLN.

For anyone that has not had the chance yet to visit (either on a Sunday or otherwise), I would recommend it. You might just find something you had been looking for!


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11 thoughts on “The lives of a Polish market

  1. PMK says:

    I love these open-air markets. I live not far from an open-air market here in Warsaw, which operates on weekends. It’s primarily a farmer’s market, but there’s also vendors hawking clothes, antiques, and household items like soap and dry goods. The customers are primarily younger folk buying cheap produce. I actually just got a ‘new’ old Zenit-E camera (the guy wanted 60zl, I got it for 30zl. Shit was pretty cash.)
    The only problem is that by 2PM, the vendors are pretty much packing up and leaving, so you can really only go in the morning. The in-season produce is also welcome, but sometimes it’s hard to gauge which way the prices will go week-over-week and how long the produce will be in season.

  2. Jeannie says:

    You’re very lucky. I’d love to have a good open-air market within walking distance and especially one with a yard sale….

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by APIstudyabroad, European Almanac. European Almanac said: The lives of a Polish market [@Polandian] […]

  4. curious says:

    What ever happened with the open air market police shooting of a Nigerian vendor in Warsaw? What is the current status of the investigation? Has it all been swept under the rug?

  5. staha says:

    Some of the vendors at Hala Targowa market have vegetables from their own gardens, which is fantastic, because otherwise you’d have to pay double/triple price for something called ‘organic’. BTW, there are many young people who go shopping there (esp. on Saturdays), but true, the majority are the elderly.

  6. Tomas says:

    Excuse me, at the 2 picture from the end(P7230180).
    Are there 2 handgrenades on sale?

  7. Decoy says:

    I have to say that I did not inspect the army items so closely but they do appear to be grenades of some kind.

  8. Kuba says:

    What is going on here?

    Warsaw – Polish police detained a 60-year-old man Wednesday who was allegedly carrying a disarmed grenade near the presidential palace, local media reported Wednesday.
    The man was allegedly threatening people near the palace that were defending a cross placed there to commemorate President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed with 95 others in a plane crash in Russia in April. The man faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

  9. […] walk through Krakow's Hala Targowa market – at […]

  10. […] walk through Krakow's Hala Targowa market – at […]

  11. […] Tour Guide We started today with a plan of going to Hala Targowa, Krakow’s finest Sunday flea market.  I was in search of a used bicycle.  Two locals told […]

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