on May 21, 2002
Sukienice, the old cloth market, is the market hall at the center of Rynek Glowny, the Market Square. Around 100 meters long and built over two levels, Sukienice is an outstanding building at the center of Krakow both architecturally and shopping-wise.
Nowadays, at this old cloth market any type of cloth is being sold. It is particularly good for buying handmade wood works. The bestsellers are chess boards and sets, anywhere from 50 Zloty ($13) to 500, which can sell for five times that price back home. When I bought my first handmade chess board here, everybody at home liked it so much that I have to buy more every time I return to Krakow and its old market.
Beside its value to chess board collectors, Sukienice includes a range of stalls selling second-hand books, artwork, antiques, gold and silver cutlery, china, and paintings. This is a much better place for buying memorabilia than the souvenir shops along the streets of the old town which are mainly offering pictures and books of John Paul II, the city's most prominent son who was once Bishop of Krakow.
Should you not find at Sukienice what you are looking for, there are some very good second-hand bookstores and antique shops in the adjacent streets. The most famous book in Polish literature, "Pan Tadeusz" by Adam Mickiewicz, is available in numerous editions, old and new. There are also a lot of books in English and other foreign languages on sale in the second-hand shops. And if you are looking for particular Jewish books and artifacts, you will find them in Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter.
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