The Central Market Hall, also known as the Great Market Hall or Nagyvásárcsarnok in Hungarian, is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. It is located at the end of Váci utca, a famous pedestrian shopping street, and on the Pest side of the Liberty bridge at Fővám square. The market hall was built in 1897 by the first mayor of Budapest, Károly Kamermayer, who wanted to improve the food supply and hygiene of the city. The market hall has a beautiful neo-Gothic architecture and a colorful roof made of Zsolnay tiles from Pécs.
The market hall has three floors, where you can find a variety of stalls selling fresh produce, fish, meat, spices, cured meats, dairy products, and other Hungarian specialties. You can also taste authentic Hungarian cuisine, such as goulash with dumplings, lángos (fried dough), or kürtőskalács (chimney cake), at the food stalls and eateries on the upper floor. The market hall is a popular place for locals and tourists alike, who come here for their groceries, lunch, or souvenirs.
The market hall is open from Monday to Saturday, from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays and from 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays. The entrance fee is free, but you may have to pay for some services or activities inside the market hall. You can get to the market hall by public transport, as it is located at the Fővám tér stop of tram lines 2, 47, and 49, and metro line M4. You can also walk or bike from the nearby attractions, such as the Gellért Hill or the National Museum.
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the market hall and Budapest, you can join one of the guided tours that are offered by various operators. Some of them include a tasting of local food and wine, while others focus on specific themes or products. You can also explore the market hall on your own, but make sure to follow some tips and etiquette rules:
- Be respectful of the vendors and customers. Don’t touch or haggle over the products without permission. Ask before taking photos or videos.
- Be aware of your surroundings. The market hall can be crowded and noisy at times. Watch out for pickpockets and keep your belongings close to you.
- Be adventurous and try new things. The market hall is a great place to discover new flavors and dishes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or sample something you’ve never had before.
- Be mindful of the prohibitions. There are some things that are not allowed in the market hall, such as smoking, drinking alcohol (except in designated areas), bringing pets (except service animals), or using roller skates or skateboards.
One of the highlights of the market hall is the display of statues of Hungarian kings and national leaders on the walls of the building. These statues were made by various sculptors between 1895 and 1897, and they represent important figures from Hungarian history and culture. Here is a list of some of them:
- Árpád: The leader of the Magyar tribes that conquered the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. He is considered the founder of Hungary.
- István I (Stephen I): The first king of Hungary who was crowned in 1000 AD. He converted Hungary to Christianity and established its statehood.
- László I (Ladislaus I): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1077 to 1095. He was known for his military achievements and his support for the church.
- Kálmán (Coloman): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1095 to 1116. He was a learned ruler who reformed the legal system and promoted culture and education.
- Béla III: A king of Hungary who ruled from 1172 to 1196. He was one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe at his time and expanded Hungary’s territory and influence.
- András II (Andrew II): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1205 to 1235. He led the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land and issued the Golden Bull of 1222, a charter of rights for the nobility.
- Béla IV: A king of Hungary who ruled from 1235 to 1270. He rebuilt Hungary after the Mongol invasion of 1241 and strengthened its defenses.
- Károly Róbert (Charles I): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1308 to 1342. He restored Hungary’s unity and prosperity after a period of civil wars and foreign interventions.
- Lajos I (Louis I): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1342 to 1382. He was also king of Poland from 1370 to 1382. He was a successful military leader who conquered large parts of Europe.
- Zsigmond (Sigismund): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1387 to 1437. He was also king of Bohemia from 1419 to 1437 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1433 to 1437. He was involved in many wars and conflicts in Europe.
- Mátyás (Matthias): A king of Hungary who ruled from 1458 to 1490. He was a popular and enlightened ruler who reformed the administration, justice, economy, and culture of Hungary. He also created a large army called the Black Army that conquered many lands.
- István Bocskai: A nobleman and leader of an anti-Habsburg uprising in Transylvania in the early 17th century. He secured religious freedom and political autonomy for Transylvania by signing a peace treaty with Austria in 1606.
- Gábor Bethlen: A prince of Transylvania who ruled from 1613 to 1629. He was a champion of Protestantism and an ally of Sweden during