The city of Nowy Targ, Poland

The city of Nowy Targ, which means "new market", has existed here in Poland since the thirteenth century. Built where several trade routes intersect and two rivers (the Bialy and Czarny Dunajec) merge, the town has been important to the Podhale region for many centuries. The original town square or "Rynek", seen in part in the photos above, is still the basis for the layout of the town's street grid which remains today. A huge and famous open-air market still operates on the edge of town Thursdays and Sundays as it always has, drawing Slovaks from over the border and Poles from around the region to buy and sell. In 1655 the town fell to the invading Swedes, in 1770 to the Austrians. By 1938 it had grown to over 11,000 inhabitants, but with the coming of WWII it fell to the Germans and became "Neumarkt". It was then home to many partisan fighters who conspired in secret to defeat the Nazis. After the war many factories and businesses were built to take advantage of the old trade routes and the city grew to over 34,000 as it stands presently. Many people from all over Podhale are employed today in Nowy Targ. In June of 1979, Pope John Paul II came to the small airport in town and tens of thousands of Goral folk dressed in native costume came from all over Podhale to greet him. He was later named as an honorary citizen of Nowy Targ and has since visited twice more, always to a very large crowd. The town is the site of the historic old wooden church of St. Anna and the Baroque church of St. Katarzyna.

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