The 758th year of St. Dominic’s Fair
The time has come for the symbolic key to Gdansk’s gates to be handed over, once more, to the merchants. For the 758th time, St. Dominic’s Fair returns, one of the largest open-air market events in Europe, beginning on 28th July. This grand fest of market and fun lasts all the way to Sunday 19th August.
The Fair: A whole 23 days of fun!
A huge number of stalls, hundreds of thousands of visitors, a wide selection of cultural and culinary choices, and the opportunity to buy virtually anything we want: this is what puts St. Dominic’s Fair up there with such recognisable events as Oktoberfest and the famous German Christmas markets. The main streets in the centre of the city are turned into a giant market lasting more than 3 weeks. Enjoy this chance to buy handicrafts, souvenirs, toys, and ceramics, as well as taste a variety of food from many cuisines of the world. There will be around 1,000 stalls to relish, with a predicted attendance of over 6 million people, based on previous years.
A Bit of History
The tradition of St. Dominic’s Fair dates back to 1260, when Pope Alexander IV permitted Dominican friars to offer indulgences for a prolonged period around their founder's feast day.
It was a huge event back then, vividly described by chroniclers all across Europe. Gdansk would typically welcome up to 400 ships loaded with all kinds of goods for sale. The city attracted artists, jugglers, and wandering troupes, providing additional attractions for the merchants and their customers.
It is worth mentioning that the emblem of the Fair is a colourful rooster, but this is
a much newer tradition, beginning in the 1970s.