St. Dominic’s Fair in Gdansk
St. Dominic’s Fair in Gdansk is one of the biggest commercial open-air events in Europe. It was established in 1260 by Pope Alexander IV, and since then has been annually organized in the streets of Gdansk – with the short period of break during and after the Second World War. Until 2003 St. Dominic’s Fair started in August and lasted for two weeks. Since 2004, it starts on the last Saturday of July and lasts for three weeks.
What will you find at St. Dominic’s Fair in Gdansk?
For the three weeks of St. Dominic’s Fair Gdansk changes completely. The city is very popular during summer, but as the Fair starts it’s even more crowded than usual. Most of the streets in the Main Town are closed for cars and are packed with stalls and shops. You will find everything here – clothes, amber jewellery, old German helmets and swords. The latter may be found at the oldies market – close to Motlawa River and Podwale Staromiejskie Street. There are lots of souvenirs to choose from, too.
The commercial character of the fair is complemented by cultural, entertainment and music events every day. The most significant take place at the beginning of the Fair and in the end. There are also food stalls through the streets, where you can eat local, Kashubian or Polish and European cuisine.
What should you avoid during St. Dominic’s Fair in Gdansk?
Most of the city centre is closed for cars, so it’s definitely better to leave your car outside the Main Town. Main Town is also very noisy those days, with most of the bars open until late at night. So if you want to rest during your stay, you should book your hotel somewhere else.
Also, St. Dominic’s Fair is not only visited by tourists – the crowd is followed by pickpockets, who try to take advantage of the chaos at the tram stops, as well as the crowd gathering to see some unusual attractions – gambling being one of them.