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What Where When

Teresa Samborska

Old Kleparz Market

Kleparz is part of the Krowodrze district to the north of Cracow Market Square and once was an independent town. It`s origins lie in the 12th century and, for many years, was second only to Kazimierz in importance. Kleparz was once a dilapidated, trading and handicrafts settlement with a typical market character. It was included within Cracow’s boundaries in the final decade of the 18th century but that administrative change did little to change its character. It was only at the turn of the 19th century when the Fine Arts Academy opened its door there that Kleparz began to pick up a bit of urban gloss, though it still maintains a rather specific climate to this day. Tourists rarely visit the place, preferring to wander between the Market Square and Wawel Castle, or choose the Jewish district of Kazimierz which has become a very fashionable spot in recent years. Though but a stones throw from the Market, Kleparz still remains in its shadow. This is a pity, since a visit is well worth the little effort needed to see its quite unusual marketplace, popularly called Old Kleparz. It is an authentic, buzzing place visited by crowds of Cracow citizens every day.


Photo: Anna Zamyłka



Old Kleparz market place can be found at Kleparski Square. It can best be reached walking from Cracow Market Square straight along Sławkowska St. After passing through the Planty Park and Basztowa St, turn right and a very interesting bazaar will come into sight. The marketplace at Kleparski Square is one of Poland’s oldest, and has been here since the 14th century. Old Kleparz today is one of Cracow’s most peculiar places. It is a colourful, hustling and aromatic place where literally everything and anything can be bought: lace underwear, sets of silver cutlery, wickerwork baskets, elegant footwear and even electric shavers. Grimy looking individuals offer wristwatches and chocolates, women show off the headscarves and tablecloths they have embroidered, elderly ladies sell garlic and flowers. Homemade groats, meat and meat products are also for sale as is village cottage cheese. Something for everyone in fact. But the heart of the marketplace is the fruit and vegetable booths where fresh products are always available.



The ladies selling ewe’s milk products are the major attraction in Old Kleparz. These Highland women in their original folk attire bring their home-made products for sale here: cottage cheese, ewe’s and goat’s milk cheeses and fresh eggs. They are immediately recognisable by their flowery headscarves, and by the dialect they use, though a foreigner will find it difficult to distinguish the differences. A story is told how three sisters, pretty girls from Bronowice, a Cracow suburban village whilst selling their dairy products in Old Kleparz at the turn of the 19th century, met young students of the nearby Academy of Fine Arts. The result was two famous marriages, one with Włodzimierz Tetmajer, the eminent painter, and the other with Lucjan Rydel, the equally brilliant poet. The wedding of the latter was the subject of a classic play by Stanisław Wyspiański an outstanding artist representing the Young Poland style.


Old Kleparz at Kleparski Square is open daily from 7 am till sunset. New Kleparz (open at the same time) – a similar fruit and vegetable marketplace but better known for its exorbitant prices, can be found not far away, to the north of the Square at Długa St.