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!