Matras Bookshop

The history of the oldest bookshop in Europe dates back to the 17th century, when Franz Jacob Mertzenich, a citizen of Cologne and a Krakow merchant, opened it under its own trade name in Ludwik Kromer’s tenement house in 1610. However, he did not manage the bookshop for a long time, because he died in 1613. For a short time, the bookshop at Rynek Główny 23 was run by other bibliopoles, but their activity quickly collapsed. Those first booksellers brought books mainly from Frankfurt on the Main, where an international book fair was regularly held.

After 1625, it was not possible to buy any books in Kromer’s tenement house for more than two centuries.

In 1872 the tenement house was purchased by Władysław Jaworski and became the location of the Walery Wielogłowski’s bookshop, which had previously functioned in the house at the corner of Św. Anny and Wiślna streets. The bookshop offered publications at low prices on subjects that were attractive to various social groups (works of well-known Polish and foreign writers, calendars, magazines) and ran a literary salon. Wielogłowski’s heirs sold the bookshop to the Warsaw company Gebethner i Wolff, which opened its first branch there. The bookshop functioned under the name Gebethner and Wolff till 1950, when it was taken over by the “Dom Książki” Central Book Trade Enterprise. In 1998, the bookshop was taken over by Skład Księgarski Matras, a Katowice-based company. The name Gebethner and Wolff’s bookshop is used by old Krakow inhabitants till now. One of its oldest customers is Prof. Aleksander Krawczuk (he visits it every day, except for Sundays), who remembers his first visit to the bookshop in 1930.

Matras is not only a bookshop, but also a place of discussions on books. Meetings with authors are organised, during which readers can obtain autographs from their favourite writers. Anyone who fails to attend such a meeting can buy a book with an autograph; the bookshop’s friendly staff always takes care of this. The main window of the bookshop also arouses interest and admiration – it contains carefully designed displays, which refer not only to newly published books. Until today books have been placed on old solid shelves of alder wood with marquetries dating back to World War II, which create an inimitable climate.

Carlos Fuentes called this bookshop the ‘cathedral of the book’. The bookshop has organised meetings with writers such as: Jaume Cabré, Clive Cussler, Norman Davies, Michael Houellebecq or William Wharton, and Polish authors: Joanna Chmielewska, Rev. Michał Heller, Ryszard Kapuściński, Sławomir Mrożek, Jerzy Pilch, Andrzej Sapkowski or Andrzej Stasiuk.

Apart from its location on the Market Square, Matras has also a number of other bookshops that are unceasingly popular among Krakow inhabitants.

Guests


Józef Baran


x. Adam Boniecki


Adam Bujak


Meg Cabot


Jaume Cabré


Joanna Chmielewska


Clive Cussler


Mieczysław Czuma


Norman Davies


Leszek Długosz


Anna Dymna


Shirin Ebadi


Jerzy Fedorowicz


Carlos Fuentes


Stanisław Gebethner


Krzysztof Globisz


Tadeusz Górny


Katarzyna Grochola


Joanne Harris


ks. Michał Heller


Christopher Hogwood


Michel Houellebecq


Paweł Huelle


Tadeusz Huk


Wojciech Jagielski


Krzysztof Jędrysek


Rafał Jędrzejczyk


Prezydent RP Lech Kaczyński


Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz


Ryszard Kapuściński


Grzegorz Kasdepke


Ludwik Jerzy Kern


Aleksander Łodzia-Kobyliński „Makino”


Zygmunt Konieczny


Marek Krajewski


Aleksander Krawczuk


Roma Ligocka


Edward Linde-Lubaszenko


Ewa Lipska


Monika Luft


Krystian Lupa


Jerzy Maksymiuk


Henryk Markiewicz


Leszek Mazan


Robert McLiam Wilson


Dariusz Michalczewski


Dariusz Michalski


Krzysztof Miklaszewski


Andrzej Mleczko


David Morrell


Krzysztof Mroziewicz


Sławomir Mrożek


Herta Müller


Jerzy Nowak


Jan Nowicki


Joanna Olczak-Ronikier


Amos Oz


Krzysztof Penderecki


Jan Peszek


Krzysztof Pieczyński


Jerzy Pilch


Anna Polony


Zbigniew Preisner


Tomasz Raczek


Stanisław Radwan


Jerzy Radziwiłłowicz


Edward Redliński


Michał Rożek


Michał Rusinek


Andrzej Sapkowski


Dorota Segda


Andrzej Sikorowski


Andrzej Stasiuk


Jerzy Stuhr


Andrzej Szczeklik


Marcin Świetlicki


Dorota Terakowska


Olga Tokarczuk


Jerzy Trela


Krzysztof Varga


Andrzej Wajda


Stanisław Waltoś


Kazimierz Wiśniak


Janusz L. Wiśniewski


Elżbieta Wojnarowska


Marcin Wolski


Bogusław Wołoszański


Jacek Wójcicki


Adam Zagajewski


Adam Ziemianin


Andrzej Żuławski

Pic. Wojciech Koranowicz