Archaeological Remains at Hala Targowa (Market Hall) - Atlas Obscura

Archaeological Remains at Hala Targowa (Market Hall)

Several 12th-century ruins can be found inside this historical market. 

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Gdańsk’s Hala Targowa (Market Hall) is located on the city’s Dominican Square or Plaza, which is appropriately named since it was once the location of the Catholic order’s convent. During renovations of the market and square in 1999, the remains of hundreds of years of Dominican activity were discovered beneath. Below the market itself, the greatest find was the foundations of religious buildings dating to 1170. While a cemetery and other remains below the square were eventually buried again, the market’s renovations saw the addition of an underground level, where the ruins could be appreciated.

Archaeological works continued throughout the early 2000s, and by 2005, Hala Targowa reopened with these Dominican ruins in its basement level. Visiting the market nowadays, the stone foundations are found behind glass walls, with other glass-covered displays showcasing many of the artifacts that were found during both archaeological works, as well as explanatory texts. Among the artifacts are many clay and metallic objects, fragments of earthenware, and almost complete vessels.

Moving up from the 12th-century remains (which were themselves buried and repurposed for hundreds of years) to the 19th and 20th-century outer structure of the market, all while following the sleek, modern glass-and-metal interior design of the 21st-century renovations, Hala Targowa offers an almost literal form of time-traveling. All the while, the timeless smells of produce, dairy, and meat products waft through the air and enhance the experience.

Know Before You Go

The ruins can be found on the lowermost level, which is also accessible via elevator. The market is open from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, it closes at 3 pm and is fully closed on Sundays.

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