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Nowy Targ

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Nowy Targ or New Market is the largest and oldest town in the Podhale Region. Nowy Targ has about 35,000 inhabitants, and its origins date back to the thirteenth century. The town's origins are directly linked with the arrival of the Cistercians, who in 1254 founded a convent in a nearby settlement – Ludźmierz, this entailed the creation of new settlements in the area. First mention about the towns existence comes from 1326r. During the reign of King Casimir the Great, the city became his property and remained so until the partitions. In the mid-fourteenth century, the town was moved and relocated between the White and the Black Dunajec Rivers. Nowy Targ has been an important trading center since the Middle Ages. Thanks to its location near the border with Hungary (now Slovakia), and through numerous royal privileges, there developed many different trades and crafts thought the town's existence. Already Casimir the Great began to organize the famous, Nowy Targ Street markets, which initially were held once a year and lasted for eight days. At the end of the fifteenth century, Casimir IV established a second market, and the town was given the privilege to organize the fair every Thursday. This tradition has survived until today. The market, today called Podhalański Street Market, is one of the largest open-air markets in Poland.

The end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth were filled with various disasters affecting the city and it development. Nowy Targ experienced no less than five large fires, during which at least half of the buildings were completely destroyed. In addition to this we must also mention the invasion of the Swedes, the outbreak of the plague and in the late eighteenth century the Russians invaded. It is therefore, not surprising, that during this period the town became diminished. Only in the second half of the eighteenth century did Nowy Targ began to rise from the devastation that this period had caused. Nowy Targ has had a very turbulent newer history as well, during the partition, Nowy Targ belonged to the Austrian government. And on the outbreak of World War II, on the very first day of war, in fact, the town was occupied by Nazi Germans. They created a Jewish ghetto in Nowy Targ, and the city's population was forced into Germanization. The liberation of Nowy Targ came somewhat as a surprise as the Russian army surprised the German forces by coming from the direction of Gorce Mountains entering the town without any serious resistance, and the occupying forces surrounded without fighting.

Location and Other Attractions in the Area

Map of Nowy Targ
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Nowy Targ is located by the main road from Krakow to Zakopane. If driving from Krakow, then follow the signs for Chyzne until you are out of Krakow on the road number 7 going south. Stay on this road until Rabka, where the road number 7 turns away to the right, but you will keep going down the road number 47 towards Zakopane. Nowy Targ is about 20 km further than Rabka.

Distances to Nowy Targ from:

Krakow:84km
Zakopane:22km
Oświęcim:107km

Other Attractions in the area:

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Zakopane is a small tourist town located at the foot of the Tatra mountains, about 20 km further south than Nowy Targ. It is famous for the views and the folklore that can be experienced here.  

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When driving to Nowy Targ from Krakow you will cross over the Gorce Mountain rage, with it fabulous views of the Tatra's. However there are many walking routes that lead back up into the Mountains from Nowy Targ and the surrounding area's. 

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The Family Theme Park in Rabka - Rabkoland is the biggest amusement park in Little Poland and a place for the entire family to enjoy.  

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The Babie Góre National park is only a small part of the Beskidy Mountain Range. The most common place to enter the park is located by the village Zajowa. 

The location of Nowy Targ at the bottom of the Gorce Mountains, between two rivers, makes it a town with a rich natural beauty and offers many tourist attractions. It is here that a famous kayaking route starts, called “Tadeusz Pilarskiego” This kayaking trail is one of the oldest such in Europe. Additionally relatively near the city (about 16km away) is the Czorsztyńskie Lake, a wonderful holiday destination for water sports enthusiasts. Those who like skiing or snowboarding may do so on the slopes in Nowy Targ (Zadział and Długa Polana Ski Centers), or visit the nearby Bialka Tatrzanska (about 15km) or Kluszkowce (about 20km). In the close vicinity of Nowy Targ, there are also four national parks: Gorce, Pieniny (about 30km), Babia Góra and the Tatra (about 20km) National Park. Another interesting attraction for nature lovers is a strict nature reserve – Bór na Czerwonem. It is an area of peat land where the plants are protected. The name comes from the red color that plants take on in the autumn due to the peat land, creating a splendid red carpet.

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Among the monuments of Nowy Targ, attention should be given firstly to the old churches. The church of Sts. Anne, is the oldest wooden church in the Podhale region, most likely, built in the late fifteenth century. It is a wooden cemetery church, which is included in Little Poland’s trail of Wooden Architecture. The second church, St. Catherine is in turn the oldest brick church in the Podhale district. The church was founded by Casimir the Great in 1346. However, in connection with numerous fires, the building has not preserved it original interior. It is currently being maintained in the Baroque style. In addition, of interest when viewing this church is a beautiful rose garden surrounding the building.

As a town for merchants, Nowy Targ has a very large market square, with a total area of 1.5 ha. Once it served merchants, as a place for markets, today is the heart of the town, and it is surrounded by the historic town houses. In the middle of Market Square is the historical town hall from the nineteenth century that houses small museum exhibition.

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