Old Market Goes Cheap

The poor condition of the centre of Poznan has been a talk of the city for a long while now. The list of problems is long, but the three top them all: erotic clubs, numerous liquor stores and idleness of the police.

The residents also complain for nighttime level of noise, and the restaurant owners bemoan the surrounding cheap vodka bars. Though the number of police patrols has increased, Poznanians are far from feeling safe in the heart of old Poznan.

"Th Old Market has reached the bottom" says Michał Merczyński, the director for Malta festival, one of Poznan's cultural gems that for years took place at the Old Square, but recently was moved to Wolnosci Sq. "Just before Euro2012 numerous go-go clubs sprang up, and scantily clad ladies were handing out their adver leaflets. Even a wife of the Minister for Culture got one. I don't think I've been more embarassed in my life" said Merczyński.

According to Merczynski, but also the local residents, the Market became a cheap open-air pub, with beer gardens steadily growing in size and capacity. Also, other aspects of aesthetics are lame, to say it subtly.

"It's unheard of in Vienna to allow such vulgar stalls with souvenirs, and to let the beer gardens occupy so much space. The advertisement panels and umbrellas cover a huge chunk of these beautiful facades. Where is the conservator's office? Who allowed all that?" asks Anna, who lives in Vienna permanently but visits Poznan and her family once in a while.

 Is there any chance to avert the crisis and improve the condition of Poznan's Old Town? Merczyński throws in a few ideas for a start: "First it needs cleaning and removing ghastly ads and umbrellas. All this needs systematizing, and that could be overseen by the city's Head Designer. All go-go clubs and vodka bars must go, too" Merczyński said, advising the city officials to pay heed to good practice developed elsewhere in Europe. "If the Old Market were different, all cultural events of the city could take place there" concludes Malta organizer.


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