Grand Market Hall, Budapest
When we first enter the building of the Market Hall, decorated with colorful Zsolnay tiles, it is as if we entered another world: it feels like a time travel to Old Hungary where we can experience the traditional market culture and try authentic Hungarian goods. And this is exactly how it feels to be in the Grand Market Hall!
After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, Budapest was set on the path of progress and there were many infrastructural developments. Many significant streets and buildings of today's cityscape was built in this era. On the other hand, markets still reflected the state of an earlier age; they were unorganised and dirty. This led the first mayor of Budapest Károly Kamermayer to publish a call for tender for a new market hall.
The winner was Samu Pecz who designed a historicist building with Neo-Gothic elements. The construction was done in an international cooperation, many Czech and Italian workers were employed which caused local workers to go on strike. The construction began in 1894 and the building was originally scheduled to open in 1896 but a serious fire caused a delay until 15 February 1897. Many well known companies participated in the construction: the metal structure was made by the Schlick Foundry, the ceramic tile and the pyrogranite were made by the Zsolnay Manufacture.
At first the market hall was split between retailers and wholesalers. For the transportation of the goods a separate train track and an underground passageway leading to the Danube were used. In the first years there were conflicts because of the strict regulations concerning hygiene and rules of trading, and the traders found it difficult to adapt to the new system. The consumers also missed the atmosphere of the old markets but after a while people adjusted to the new market hall.
In the 1960 separate stalls were built which erased the style of the old markets resulting in the current outlook of the market hall. The building was seriously damaged in the World Wars and it was completely renovated on its centenary.