Budapest’s Great Market Hall

I was hungary, I needed food.

Heh (articles, the last refuge of puns)…

So I went to the Great Market Hall.

Vienna and Budapest may have been co-capitals of the Austria-Hungarian empire but in some ways they are diametric opposites.

While the Viennese have their open air market in Naschmarkt, the comparable great market in Budapest is a massive indoor one. While Vienna’s Naschmarkt developed organically as a place to sell milk and later produce, the Great Market Hall in Budapest was planned and debated on over a span of decades.

The intention to set up a market hall was for health and safety reasons. Beginning in the 1860s debates had arose in Budapest on setting up indoor market halls to ensure that only food that was inspected and was certified safe could be sold, it would also strengthen the supply chain of food. This was a serious issue as the condition of food that was arriving in Budapest was on the continual decline, food distribution was unorganised but the city’s population was continually increasing. If nothing was done there would be a massive public health disruption.

Despite the urgency, it took 19 years (1879) for the decision to be made to set up a committee to finally look into Market Halls, a further 12 years to (1891) for a site to be decide upon and another 6 years to be designed and built (1897) by a well known architect and academic Samu Pecz.

While the building was not a paragon of efficiency, the final product was architecturally grand with neogorthic design and a distinctive roof with colourful tiles provided by a well known manufacturer Zsolnay in Pecs.


It’s interior is certainly extremely organised now and it has turned into more of a tourist site with meats, pastries, candies, vegetables, spices and alcohol on sale. On the second floor are stalls selling Hungarian food stuffs.

While there are the typical items that you will find in a market, like meats, vegetables and staples, this market (as a proper Hungarian market would) has some things that are very Hungarian, such as Hungarian paprika.

Paprika is a spice of ground bell peppers, the hungrian version becing distinctive for its flavour and a common marker of Hungarian cuisine. It is not native to Hungary though, not initially at least – Paprika came from the Americas and was brought into Europe through Spain and into Hungary via the Ottoman rule.

But I didn’t come for spices, I came to eat…

Enough talk, time to eat 😉



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