Targowiska: Polish street markets today

Thomas K. Tiemann (Jefferson Pilot Professor of Economics, Elon University, Elon, NC 27244, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 1 December 2005


Poles do much of their shopping outdoors. In any city with urban bus or tram service, and in many towns without, there are kiosks on important street corners that sell bus or tram tickets, magazines and newspapers, basic stationery items, cigarettes and candy, bottled water and soft drinks, and an amazing number of other small items. More important than the kiosks are the targowiska or “free and open markets” where Poles can buy clothing, stationery, food, small electronics, cosmetics, and a large variety of other goods. The targowiska are the descendents of the weekly market days that occurred in almost every Polish town and village up to World War II. These free and open markets appeared quickly with the liberalisation of the economy in the late 1980s, popping up at traditional market places and on other open spaces convenient for shoppers. While these markets appear to be unorganised and informal, in the past fifteen or twenty years their operations have become regulated and more formal. While these markets are less informal than they may first appear, they do still perform many of the functions of informal markets. These markets also have become an important source of revenue for local governments.



Tiemann, T. (2005), "Targowiska: Polish street markets today", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 25 No. 12, pp. 67-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330510791234

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