Christmas markets in Poland
One of the most popular Christmas time highlights in Poland are Christmas markets. In Krakow, one of the biggest cities in Poland and it’s ancient capital, Christmas markets has always been exceptionally festive. Markets have always played an important role in city’s life. They not only regulated economic rhythm of the city, but were also an occasion to meet with friends and neighbours. Christmas time, in which trade was just as important and customs, had therefore always been extraordinary.
Traditionally, start of Christmas markets launches the festive season in Krakow. They start at the end of November and last at least until December 26th. Sometimes the market runs until January 6th. Christmas celebrations in Poland are strongly connected with holidays in Catholic Church culminating on Christmas Eve on December 24th and Christmas days on December 25th and 26th .
The exact dates of this year’s Krakow Christmas market are yet to be announced. The vendors generally keep their stalls open every day between 10:00 and 20:00.
Krakow Christmas market
Krakow is the host of the largest Christmas market in Poland. Christmas market in Krakow takes place each year in the main city’s square – Rynek Glowny, in the very heart of the historic Old Town. Christmas markets have always taken place there, since Rynek Glowny has always been the major trade venue, annually welcoming festive merchandise as the Christmas time approached.
During this time, Rynek Glowny houses tens of wooden stalls gathered around a huge, luminous Christmas tree. Each stall offers a wide variety of festive souvenirs. Christmas markets generally sell traditional Christmas decorations and delicacies. Amongst arts and crafts on sale during Christmas time can be found hand-made jewellery, Polish pottery, woollen clothes and hand-painted colourful glass baubles that are Polish traditional Christmas ornament. Wreaths and evergreens are another popular Christmas decoration, just like the mistletoe.
A visit at the Christmas market can also be a great excuse to try a wide range of traditional Polish food goodies. Vendors offer mulled wine and warm beer with sausages for those wanting to warm up a little. Christmas market is also the best way to try seasonal sweets, from heart-shaped gingerbread to multicoloured candies and nuts in caramel.
Where is it?
Many special events are planned to accompany the Christmas market, such as folk dances and carols singing contests. Local blacksmiths and other craftsmen also provide free entertainment, presenting how they work and encouraging visitors to purchase their handicraft. Also a very special guest, Saint Nicolas, will surely be present to pose with children.
Szopki – one of a kind Krakow custom
What makes Christmas markets in Krakow one of a kind are Szopki, a tradition completely unknown in other parts of Poland. These miniature models of the Nativity Scene and Krakow’s historical buildings are made of coloured paper and wood. Szopka is a sleek, tall, multilevel tower, often very colourful and usually combining the scene of the birth of Jesus with significant elements of Krakow’s architecture. It is a local custom, dating back to the 19th century, characteristic only to the Krakow region.
Each year, on first Thursday of December a competition for the best Szopka is held on the main square, an event extremely popular amongst locals. The most elaborate and beautiful works are then displayed at the special exhibition in Krzysztofory Palace, which is a branch of Historical Museum of Krakow.
Have you seen Kraków Christmas Market 2019 yet?