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Kraków, the Szczepański Square, northern frontage; the market square and kramnice stalls. A fragmentary view of the market square — you can see two gabled wooden kramnice stalls and tables with baskets on them. There are also barrels and wicker brooms lying on the pavement. A few persons are trading.

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Kraków, the Szczepański Square, northern frontage; the market square and kramnice stalls. A fragmentary view of the market square — you can see two gabled wooden kramnice stalls and tables with baskets on them. There are also barrels and wicker brooms lying on the pavement. A few persons are trading. The picture was shot from the north-east corner of the square (at the exit of św. Tomasza Street). Other visible elements include some tenement houses along the northern frontage of the square.

Elaborated by Małgorzata Kanikuła (Museum of Photography in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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The first customer – a man, not a woman!

Just as in other market squares, trading in Kraków’s Main Market Square was not only regulated by rules but also associated with certain superstitions that guaranteed success for the merchants. A merchant starting their trading day would be confident only if their first customer was...

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Just as in other market squares, trading in Kraków’s Main Market Square was not only regulated by rules but also associated with certain superstitions that guaranteed success for the merchants. A merchant starting their trading day would be confident only if their first customer was... a man. If a woman was the first person to take interest in merchant’s goods, the merchant did his best to dissuade her from buying anything in order to brush aside a bad omen (it was a sign that the day would not be successful). To this end, merchants would sell their products to the first man even at a price below the value of the product. Source: M. Ferenc, Handel (Trade), In: Obyczaje w Polsce od Średniowiecza do czasów współczesnych (Customs in Poland from the Middle Ages until the Contemporary Times), edited by A. Chwalba, Warsaw 2005, p. 191.
 

Elaborated by the Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Learn more about trading in the Main Market Square in Kraków.
See the photograph “Selling palms to be consecrated at St. Mary’s Church in Kraków in the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums.
See the photograph “Kraków, Szczepański Square, nothern frontage.

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Trading in the Main Market Square in Kraków

The Main Market Square once played a role of a market place with 400 stalls (merchants also put their merchandise in baskets on the pavement). Since the beginning of the 14th century and moving onto the 18th century, each part of the square was reserved for salesmen offering various kinds of merchandise...

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A model of Main Market Square in Kraków, source: wikipedia.orgCC-BY 3.0 PL

The Main Market Square once played a role of a market place with 400 stalls (merchants also put their merchandise in baskets on the pavement). Since the beginning of the 14th century and moving onto the 18th century, each part of the square was reserved for salesmen offering various kinds of merchandise; there was a coal fair, a lead fair, a Jewish fair, a fish fair, a bread fair, a cooperage fair and a crayfish fair.
Those trading were subject to certain rules: products were sold exclusively to ordinary customers until a flag fluttered on the mast of the Main Market Square (about 11 am), and then products were sold to merchants too. Thanks to this, merchants could not impact prices and could not buy out the most sought-after products. It was also forbidden to sell merchandise on the way to the Market Square. Jews could not buy until noon. Those who did not obey those guidelines risked a punishment of flogging or being locked in a wicker basket (from which they had to free themselves while watched by an amused crowd).

Elaborated by the Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

 


Source: M. Ferenc, Handel, in: Obyczaje w Polsce od Średniowiecza do czasów współczesnych (Customs in Poland from the Middle Ages until the Contemporary Times), edited by A. Chwalba, Warsaw 2005, pp. 190–191.

See the photograph “Selling palms to be consecrated at St. Mary’s Church in Krakow in the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums.

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“Kraków, Szczepański Square, northern frontage”

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