Warsaw’s shopping: Hala Mirowska

Our times are marked with glass skyscrapers and modern shopping centers where all you can find is the same and the same stores, filled with not-so-high quality products and full of people who are not buying, but they are just looking. One of the places that has some history and you can still buy some nice products there is Hala Mirowska, located just 3 tram stops from Warsaw’s Central Station.

I would like to start with some important information: the object that is known as Hala Mirowska is actually a part of the complex originally called Hale Mirowskie. Before they have been destroyed during World War II, both were used for selling fresh groceries – like fish or vegetables. After the buildings were burned and eventually destroyed, there were no plans for rebuilding them, nevertheless – people responsible for that changed their minds and the only thing that changed was the use of the halls. Current Hala Mirowska, which was the “western hall” was used for selling things and the “eastern hall” became a sports hall, used by the boxing club Gwardia. Now both are used for trade purposes, but Gwardia club is still using a tiny part of the eastern hall.

Today I visited the western hall, my goal was to buy some things but I also took several pictures to show you how this type of less modern shopping in Warsaw looks like. First, let’s have a look at the entrance.

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As you can see, the style of the building is rather non-modern. I read that there was some renovation done in 2011, though I assume that the person who did that wanted to keep the original style of the rebuilt hall. Since it was rebuilt in 1952, obviously it cannot be considered modern now.

If you’d like to buy flowers or some home made products – there are some tents set up by various people and this creates an open market outside the hall. It goes around the building, but also – after the crossroad on the other side of the road.

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Ok, so let’s have a look inside. The entrance is pretty standard.

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I did not catch that on the picture, but from this place you can also enter a 24/7 pharmacy and right at the entrance there was a woman who was selling cherries – I spotted the price and it was something around 2 euros per kilogram. They looked very nice, but she was not there anymore when I was leaving – I assume she sold them all.

If my information are right, the building is owned by Społem – and this kind of shows why the building and shops look like that. Społem is a Polish Grocery Sellers Association that has been introduced in 1868. And even though there are less and less Społem stores in Poland, they still exist. I have to admit they have decent prices and even though for some it can be a little overprices, I do not see much difference between them and popular supermarkets like Biedronka, Stokrotka or Lewiatan (which is another supermarket group that connects smaller shops into one big brand). Społem store covers the most central area of Hala Mirowska.

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Inside Hala Mirowska you can find a big variety of services: by going there you can buy different types of cosmetics, fresh cakes, shoes, copy your keys, cut your hair, buy youself some new glasses, sign an insurance contract and even buy yourself a wig if you only want that. At the same time there is something that is a gigantic advantage comparing to modern shopping centers: no one, literraly no one is stopping you while you are walking to offer you testing some perfumes (and then selling them to you), no one really forces you to go inside the shop and no one is bothering you with a question “can I help you?” when you entered a shop 5 second ago. These things happen very frequently in big shopping malls and this actually annoys me, because I prefer to shop at my own pace and simply – carefully look at things before I ask for something.

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I am pretty sure fans of modern, glass shopping malls would not find this place any kind of attractive, that is why there are almost no young people there and most of the shoppers are older. It is not a big place so most of the people go there to buy something instead of just walking there out of boredom. Some people say that this place is expensive, but honestly – I think it is absolutely all right and even if it’s a bit more priced than some big shopping malls, it is perfectly understandable as all the people who sell their stuff there have small businesses. I am still happy that such small trade still exists and is popular enough to operate for many years.

I am totally sure that I will come there more often, especially while it is just 7-8 minutes walking from my apartment in Warsaw. If you are in Warsaw and you’d like to visit this place, the location is easily accesible by public transport. You just need to take a tram no. 17 or 33 and get out on the stop called “Hala Mirowska”.

There are some more places like that in Warsaw and I hope to find some time in my schedule to also go there. If I do, you will surely know :)

Have a nice day everyone!

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