History of the Great Market Hall

Visit the Great Market Hall in Budapest for an unforgettable market experience in the heart of Budapest.

Spices in Great Market Hall Budapest photo by MsSaraKelly

Spices in Great Market Hall Budapest photo by MsSaraKelly

The Great Market Hall in Budapest has been nominated to the first place on cnn’s travel guide in 2013. http://travel.cnn.com/europes-amazing-city-markets-354731/

The Idea

Buda and Pest have been united in 1873, and Budapest doubled the population until the 1900s.

Budapest has experienced a rapid economic growth, transport and trade expansion took place in Hungary. Elegant palaces and miserable bed passes characterized this era in the same time, while preparing for a spectacular presentation of the Millennium. The city leaders urged generous gestures to solve the market problem in Budapest.

Numerous open and covered markets used to operate without hygiene and quality control in Budapest until 1879, when the Public Food Committe was founded to take control of the markets. Mayor Charles Kamermayer took part in the committee personally, and the proposal for a functional hall system based on foreign examples has been determined in 1883.

To build accessible markets and halls, respecting the conscious urban planning and using the existing urban fabric while maintaining the uniqueness of Budapest was first suggested by Besnier de la Pontonerie, French engineer in his memoirs in 1872. He adopted a French model of easily accessible markets to provide fresh, healthy, affordable food in the city.

The Market Hall Society started to operate in 1897, when the central district and the first four market halls opened. This market halls were followed by others in 1902-1903 to create the still known network: Batthyányi Square (District II.) Hold Street (District V), Hunyadi Square (District VI.), Klauzál Square (District VII. ), Kossuth Square (VIII. district), Customs House, Boulevard (IX. district).

Central Market Hall Budapest - Alex photos

Central Market Hall Budapest – Alex photos

Building of Great Market Hall

The capital management announced a tender in 1892, a market hall to be established on the Pest side of the Liberty Bridge. The location of the Market Hall was selected carefully, considering the population and infrastructure of the region. Nearby a fish market has operated, next to a busy port on the River Danube. From the nine entries received, three was qualified for the second round, and finally Mr Sam Pecz the professor of the Technical University suited to the umpires saw.

The building was designed and built by Sam Pecz around 1897.

The plan was to finish the central and the district market halls in the same time, so the schedule was really tight and a special permission had also taken place for the works on Sundays as well. Prior to the inauguration, a fire broke out and burned down the roof structure of the central hall. On the 15th of February in 1897, the inauguration ceremonies were held in the hall network.

To ensure the smooth construction and delivery of the goods, railroad rails were laid and the electric path was extended.

It was deemed one of the world’s most modern market halls, with state of the art lighting and refrigeration systems.

The area size of the building is 10,000 square meters, which is covered by steel structure, the stand equipment and the steel structure of the hall were all made by the Waagner and Schlick factory, the colorful porcelain and majolica covers have been provided by the Zsolnay factory in Pecs.

Early Days – Life in the Market Hall

The rentals were adapted to the activity of vendors. The highest price was paid by the operators of the refrigerated display – fish and meat vendors – while others – vegetables, bread, etc. vendors – were asked less rent. The life in the market hall was a common press topic, and it has inspired writers and various artists.

From April, 1897 the official “Market Hall Report” newspaper appeared twice a week (on Thursdays and Sundays) to inform the community about the prices and encourage the audience to try new products and also inspire the producers to improve the output.

The usual shouting to attract customers (like in other markets) was forbidden, like littering, swearing or even whistling.

Barbed-eyed inspectors have taken care to maintain the purity of the hall and punished the sellers for example for loading the goods during the opening hours, as it had to be done during the night.

During the existence of the hall it had some illustrious visitors such as Emperor Franz Joseph, who visited the market hall just three months after the opening, and he was pleased by the architecture and his majesty really liked the the Zsolnay ceramics on the roof.

The Building

The entrance gate has a neogothic touch. The Market Hall is one of the most beautiful creations of the Historicism brick architecture in Hungary.

Vast and airy, it’s been described as a cathedral in iron, with a canal running through its center so that barges could deliver fresh produce to the traders. The canal is no longer there — it’s been replaced by wide elegant thoroughfares between the stalls.

World Wars

The Market Hall provided fresh food for Budapest through nearly half a century, but it suffered a bomb hit during the World War II and damaged badly. It was rebuilt in the fifties – more quickly than initially – but in the beginning of the nineties the structure weakened and it became dangerous, so the hall was evacuated and closed down.

In 1994 a complete renovation started and brought the market back to its ancient splendour.

The building was declared a national monument in 1977.

Today

It is located at the end of the famous pedestrian shopping street Váci street and on the Pest side of the Liberty bridge at Fővám square.

The building was awarded with FIABCI Prix d’Excellence in 1999. The Central Market Hall is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city.

Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits such as traditional Hungarian paprika, Tokaji wine and much more. The second floor has mainly eateries and souvenirs. The basement contains butcher shops, fish market, and pickles. Not only do they have traditional cucumber pickles, but they also offer pickled cauliflower, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and garlic.

Hungarian Sweet & Hot Paprika photo by Ali Eminov

Hungarian Sweet & Hot Paprika photo by Ali Eminov

A Guided Tour is also available to help you find your way through the various sausages, hams, salamis and other foods and to make sure that you won’t miss the best deals.

The famous langos – a deep-fried doughy confection topped with garlic, sour cream and cheese is also available at food stalls like the hungarian Lacipecsenye – baked sausage and wale with pickles.

If you buy only one thing, make it a packet of grounded paprika, which will add more than memories to your cooking at home.

How to get there: Although it’s quicker from the city center by metro (M3 Blue Line) to Kalvin Ter, the best way is to take a tram, to see the city as you go. Budapest has more than 30 trams — it’s a great way to travel. Take trams 2, 47 or 49 to the Liberty Bridge.

Transylvanian Days in Budapest Great Market Hall

Transylvanian Cultural and Food Days in the Great Market Hall, Budapest, known as Vasarcsarnok in Hungarian. You can take a little trip to the Transylvanian traditions in Budapest, learn about Transylvanian Hungarian folk art, dances, foods and drinks, as Transylvanian towns and villages are home to many Hungarian families as well as Romanian families.

Transylvanian Chimney Cake Kurtoskalacs Ispa

Transylvanian Chimney Cake Kurtoskalacs Ispa

Transylvanian folk art crafts, including folk dresses, typical Transylvanian lifestyle tools, foods and drinks (Transylvanian Chimney cake (Kurtoskalacs), Transylvanian cabbage stew with sour cream, Transylvanian aubergine cream, etc.) will be presented at the Central Market Hall in Budapest during the Transylvanian cultural weekend in the Vasarcsarnok. You can also learn about the countryside tours and Transylvanian day trips to the outstanding historical towns and natural resorts of Transylvania, e.g. the Killing Lake (Gyilkos To), Brasov (Dracula’s Bran Castle is nearby), Sighisoara (Segesvar), etc. A wonderful place to visit, check out a bit of Transylvania in Nagycsarnok.

Venue of the Market Event

Great Market Hall (aka Central Market Hall or Nagycsarnok)

Address: 1-3 Vamhaz korut Street, Budapest, District IX.

Dates of the Market Event

Dates of the Transylvanian Days in Budapest:

  • April 24-26, 2018
  • October 9-11, 2018

(Thursday-Friday: 9.00-18.00, Saturday: 9:00 to 15:00)

The dates are subject to change.

Transylvanian Dracula Vlad Tepes Castle Dimitris Agelakis

Transylvanian Dracula – Dimitris Agelakis Photo

The Transylvanian weekends in Budapest will feature the essence of Transylvanian and Hungarian-Transylvanian culture, music and food culture, the traditional Transylvanian foods and drinks, and you will have a chance to purchase some nice little gifts from Transylvania too (chess boards, pipes, folk art cloths, etc.)

Last but not least, the Transylvanian Tourist Days will be held in Budapest Great Market Hall where you can get help to plan your off Transylvanian trip. Taste Transylvania in the central Great Market Hall of Budapest.

Hungarian Days in Budapest Market Hall

Hungarian Cultural and Food Days in the Great Market Hall, Budapest, aka Nagycsarnok. You can take take a little trip to the Hungarian traditionas in Budapest, learn about Hungarian folk art, dances, foods and drinks.

Meyke Hungarian Folk Fashion Budapest

Meyke Hungarian Folk Fashion Budapest

Hungarian folk art crafts, including folk dresses (aprons, hats, scarves, skirts, blouses etc.), wood carvings, gingerbread cakes, painted eggs, traditional potteries, embroideries, typical Hungarian musical instruments (citera, cimbalom, doromb), foods and drinks (Hungarian sausages, veggies, cheeses, palinka, paprika, etc.) will be presented at the Central Market Hall in Budapest during the Hungarian cultural weekend in the Vasarcsarnok.

You can also learn about the countryside tours and Budapest day trips to Szentendre, Vac, Godollo, Pecs, Veszprem, Eger, Etyek, Holloko, and other towns and villages in Hungary. A wonderful place to visit, check out a bit of Hungary in Nagycsarnok on our own national day in the Hungarian capital.

Venue of the Market Event

Great Market Hall (aka Central Market Hall or Nagycsarnok)

Address: 1-3 Vamhaz korut Street, Budapest, District IX.

Dates of the Market Event

Dates of the Hungarian Days in Budapest:

  • Apr 17-19, 2018
  • September 18-20, 2018

(Tuesday – Thursday: 9.00-18.00)

The dates are subject to change.

Hungarian Folk Dance Budapest

Hungarian Folk Dance Budapest

The Hungarian weekends in Budapest will feature the essence of Hungarian culture, food culture, the Hungarian traditional foods and drinks, and you can surely buy some nice little gifts from Hungary too, beyond the usual stalls on the upper floor (where gifts await you all year round).

In addition, the Hungarian Tourist Days will be held in Budapest Great Market Hall where you can get help to plan your off Budapest Hungarian itinerary (check out rare sights, hidden gems like the Folk Museum skanzen in Szentendre, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hollok, or the carst caves in Aggtelek, the Valley of Beautiful Women in Eger wine region, and more). Taste Budapest in a more Hungarian flavor in the central Great Market Hall of Budapest.

 

Croatian Days in Great Market Hall Budapest

Croatian Cultural and Food Days in the Great Market Hall, Budapest, aka Nagycsarnok. You can take take a little trip to Croatia in Budapest, sample Croatian crafts and goods.

Split Coratia

Split Coratia – Lena Ni Photo

Croatian folk art crafts, including folk dresses (aprons, hats, scarves, etc.), typical Croatian musical instruments (bagpipes, sea organs), foods and drinks (Croatian prsuit the home cured ham, paski sir piquant cheese, Kulen sausage with paprika, etc.) will be presented at the Central Market Hall in Budapest during the Croatian cultural weekend in the Vasarcsarnok. You can also learn about tours and trips to the Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Zadar, beautiful historical Mediterranean places to see). A wonderful place to visit, check out a bit of Croatia in Nagycsarnok on its national day in Hungary.

Venue of the Market Event

Great Market Hall (aka Central Market Hall or Nagycsarnok)

Address: 1-3 Vamhaz korut Street, Budapest, District IX.

Dates of the Market Event

Dates of the Croatian Days in Budapest:

  • Not scheduled for 2018

(Thursday-Friday: 9.00-18.00, Saturday: 9:00 to 15:00)
The dates are subject to change.

Food in Croatia

Food in Croatia – David Domingo Photo

The Croatian weekends in Budapest will feature the Croatian culture (also Slavonia), the Croatian foods and drinks, and you can surely buy some nice souvenirs from Croatia too.

In addition, the Croatian Tourist Days will be held in Budapest Great Market Hall where you can get help to plan your Croatian itinerary (check out rare sights, hidden gems like the Zagreb Mummy or the Technical Museum, the Lapidarium in Split, and more). Taste Croatia a bit in the beautiful Great Market Hall of Budapest, Hungary.

Greek Days at Great Market Hall Budapest

Greek Days in Budapest? Yes, Greece, the country of sea and history (yeah, let’s forget about the Euro for a moment) is visiting Budapest, right in the Great Market Hall (Nagycsarnok) by the river Danube.

Santorini Sunset Greece Marcel Germain

Santorini Sunset Greece Marcel Germain

Greece needs no introduction. Greek restaurants are everywhere in the world, and one of them in Budapest, believe it or not. Don’t take our word for it, take a seat in Taverna Dionysos by the river Danube and enjoy your wonderful Greek dishes in authentic Greek atmosphere. Then come back to the Great Market Hall in Budapest, by the Liberty Bridge for another dose of Greek fun.

Try some Greek drinks, foods, buy Greek gifts, or get some help for planning your Greek holiday, what to include in the itinerary, which are the best islands in Greece, where to eat, shop, dance and party, etc. Learn about Mount Ethos the mountain / peninsula in northern Greece, or the 16 km long canyon, Samaria Gorge covered in ancient evergreen trees, refresh your knowledge about Athens, the Dephi Theatre, Meteora or the Parthenon on top of Acropolis.

Venue of the Market Event

Lindos Sea Greece Tourism

Lindos Sea Greece Tourism

Great Market Hall (aka Central Market Hall or Nagycsarnok)

Address: 1-3 Vamhaz korut Street, Budapest, District IX.

Dates of the Market Event

Dates of the Maltese Days in Budapest:

  • Not scheduled for 2018

(Thursday-Friday: 9.00-18.00, Saturday: 9:00 to 15:00)
The programs are subject to change.

Simultaneously with the Greek Cultural Days in the Vasarcsarnok, the Greek Tourist Days will also be held in Budapest Great Market Hall. You can learn about the major cities, cruises, islands, tours, Greek culture, upcoming events, the best travel tips in Greece, or the top ten things to do, off the beaten track attractions, hidden gems, diving and dining tips etc.

Fish Market Athens Greece Finizio

Fish Market Athens Greece Finizio

You may even have a chance to buy some Greek souvenirs to take home as small gifts from Hungary without packing too many things in your suitcase. Leave the Ouzo for another trip and just sip it in the market hall, or buy it in your home town supermarket.