Nowy Targ is the home to many outstanding Polish sportsmen, actors, bishops and opera singers. Aside from being the birthplace of famous Poles, the town is also an important trade and industrial centre of Podhale region. At the same time, Nowy Targ may be a good destination for active travellers. Its location by the Gorce Mountains annually attracts thousands of mountain hiking enthusiasts.
The town’s location in the picturesque mountainous area of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship influences its attractiveness as a resort. Its close proximity to the border with Slovakia and Tatra National Park makes Nowy Targ a good destination for keen mountain hikers and skiers.
Within Nowy Targ county we find numerous nature reserves. The most famous is Bor na Czerwonem, where the protected Drosera rotundifolia, Mountain Pine and Black Grouse grow. Gorce National Park, on the other hand, is abundant with wild animals. We find there: deer, roe deer, otters, boars, bats and birds (130 species) among others. The symbol of the park is Fire Salamander. There are also a few caves, the largest of which is Zbojnicka Jama.
Nowy Targ is also famous for its monuments. Built in 1346, St. Catherine of Alexandria church is probably the oldest existing church of the Podhale region. Its founder was King Casimir the Great. Worthy a visit is also St. Anna Church, whose origins date to the 15th century. Initially built in a gothic style, it was later repaired and rebuilt. In Nowy Targ we find also three memorials: first one of Wladyslaw Orkan, second of Adam Mickiewicz and the third of John Paul II. The last one commemorates the pope’s pilgrimage to Poland in 1979.
Nowy Targ may also boast of a huge (1,5 ha) market square with the 19th-century-old town hall and listed tenements. The large size of the square made it possible to organize different bazaars and fairs there. Twice a week the town holds Nowy Targ Fair (Polish: Jarmark Nowotarski), where we may buy different types of products, like regional food, shoes and clothes. A famous Podhale Fair, on the other hand, is held once a year and its offer includes a legendary oscypek (a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains), sheepskin and woollen slippers among others.
While in Nowy Targ, you should not forget to try its local cuisine. The town is especially famous for its ice-cream, whose taste is based on a special formulation.
Called by Polish Gorals „the city”, Nowy Targ is a historical capital of Podhale and its main trade and industrial centre. The town is situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in the confluence of the rivers Bialy and Czarny Dunajec.
Nowy Targ is inhabited by more than 30000 people; however, the visitor number increases greatly during the winter and summer seasons. Due to its specific, mild mountain climate and Podhale Fair (Polish: Jarmark Podhalanski), which is organized here every year, Nowy Targ annually attracts thousands of tourists.
In the beginning of the 13th century Podhale region was inhabited by Cistercians, who received a large land there and formed new settlements. The first records about Nowy Targ itself (at that time called Novum Forum) come from 1326. Twenty years later the town was already under the rules of King Casimir the Great, who granted it internal autonomy based on Magdeburg law. Due to its convenient location, Nowy Targ became an important trade centre. In 1487 the town obtained the rights to hold two annual festivals and a weekly market. The weekly open-air market continues to this day and is held on Thursdays and Saturdays.
In the 17th and 18th centuries many calamities came to Nowy Targ. Numerous fires destroyed the town’s old files and buildings, among which were: a church, the town hall, a hospital and a manor. In 1656, during the Deluge, the town was sacked and its inhabitants killed by Swedish troops. In 1710 there was a black death epidemic and in 1770, as a result of the Partitions of Poland, Nowy Targ was annexed by Austria. Only in the end of the 18th century, after all the havoc, Nowy Targ could be rebuilt.
After the Spring of Nations Galicia gained independence and in 1867 Nowy Targ became a capital of a county. At that time a mill, a saw-mill and a power station were built and in 1884 a new town hall was opened. The town began to develop.
WWI unified Poles and Austrians. Together with Jozef Pilsudski’s army, they regained freedom. The interwar period brought many positive changes: new schools and nature reserves (including Bor na Czerwonem) came into existence and Podhale Nowy Targ sports club was founded. The town’s growth was stopped by the Second World War. On September 1, 1939 Nowy Targ was invaded by Germans. Its inhabitants were put into the process of germanisation, but not everyone surrendered. In 1941 they formed resistance movement called the Tatra Confederation. Unfortunately, it was liquidated a year later and the Nazis arrested its members. Most of them were killed or transported to Auschwitz.
In 1945 the Red Army forced out German occupants and made it possible for Nowy Targ to pick up after war and rebuild its economy. At that time Podhale Leather Factory (Polish: Nowotarskie Zakłady Przemysłu Skórzanego „Podhale”) and many housing estates came into existence. Nowadays, Nowy Targ is claimed to be a significant trade and industrial centre of Podhale region and its main tourist resort. In 1994 it became the capital of the Tatra Euro region. All the decisions on the protection of region’s culture and nature are made here.