The Great Market Hall, Budapest


Last week I was lucky to be in Budapest for a short break. Although photography would be a part of the trip the idea was to enjoy some downtime with my wife. See the sights, taste the food, you get the idea. Unfortunately we were not always blessed with good weather and during the photography times, tourists were everywhere. So the photographs always tend to have people in them. There’s not a lot you can really do about either the weather or people, so just get on with it.

One of the sights in Budapest that was on our bucket list to visit was The Great Market Hall on the Pest side of the river. From out hotel it was an easy visit. Four stops on the tram, walk across the Liberty Bridge over the river and you’re there. This isn’t a small building, by any means approximately 10,000 square metres floor space. It’s the sort of place you could spend all day in, just wandering around.

Great Market Hall
Bracket set of 3 using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/50s, f7.1, ISO 200

As all market halls should, there are a large variety of goods on sale. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, bakery products, spices, liquors, tourist tat, fast food, no, not Mickey Dees, or anything like that, Hungarian fast food, as you’ll see later.

Fruit and Veg
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f5, ISO 400

Hungarians love cake and sweet pastries. I do as well and it was very tempting but I’m supposed to be cutting down, Hungarian meals are large, very large.

A Bit Of Cake
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f5, ISO 400

Down on the ground floor of the market it’s mainly produce for sale. I was told that many Budapest natives visit early, around 8am before the tourists descend on the market. They know what they want and they go right for it. No time for messing with dilly-dallying tourists.

Shop Floor
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/6s, f7, ISO 200

If you like Paprika this is the place to go. It comes in all types, sweet, hot, smoked, There’s chillies as well, everything priced but you do have to shop around, prices for the same items vary from stall to stall.  What’s cheap on one stall will be dearer on another and when you want to buy several items you’ll find that at least one of them is less expensive on the stall next door. Swings and roundabouts.

Paprika
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f5, ISO 400

There’s all the tat a tourist could ever want. Head on around the corner though, don’t go for the fancy presentation and you’ll get better and fresher products.

Tourist Tat
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/320s, f5, ISO 400

Now for those Europeans amongst us. Would you believe there’s an Aldi store in the basement of the Great Market Hall. I kid you not. That’s the advert for the stores weekly bargains that you can see in the background.

Meeting Up
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f3.5, ISO 400

Still on the ground floor, there’s a whole section of the Great Market Hall devoted to meat. Hungarians love meat, Duck (Kacsa) is a speciality in many restaurants. We went to a fabulous restaurant called Kacsa on Kacsa Street, where the speciality was duck and boy was it good.

Meat Eater
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/125s, f5, ISO 400

On the upper floor of the market there are long narrow terraces along the sides of the building with a few crossing from one side to the other. It’s here that you will find all the tourist stuff. Walking along these passages is quiet tight, there’s so many people walking about. I don’t know how old this lady is, a gentleman never asks, but she was there doing here best to sell, sell, sell.

How Old?
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/13s, f5.6, ISO 400

With open stalls, I don’t suppose you can just walk away and leave it for any time. So it’s a drink on the spot for this stall holder. There’s a lot of lace and embroidery here on this floor, but nowadays I’m always wary. After all the three most used words in the English language nowadays are “Made In China”. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but the cynical me is always about.

Drink Time
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/30s, f5.6, ISO 400

On the opposite side of the Great Market Hall is where you get food. Lots of food, large portions as well. It ranges from Goulash, to pasta, to sausages, there’s all sorts, hot and tasty

Food Glorious Food
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f3.5, ISO 400

You know I said it was lots of food. That’s a bowl of Goulash those girls are photographing. Full of chunks of beef with a paprika sauce/gravy. It’s hearty and filling that’s for sure.

Photo Op
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f3.5, ISO 400

Ok! So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Great Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary with me. Later this week I’ll be writing about the architecture and hopefully by the weekend I’ll be able to show you some night photographs from Budapest.

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18 Comments

  1. An impressive and vast mall, mart or store. I don’t know what to call it. You probably wrote that at the beginning and my mind slipped the name/. Any how that place has just about everything. I have never seen such a gigantic amount of fresh produce displayed before- anywhere. And it did look very fresh. I’m afraid I would go nuts trying to shop there as I wondered which stall had a better price. The photos and explanations are great. Loved this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose you would call it a market, Yvonne. We visited twice, first time, just to look around and get a feel for the place. The second was to do the serious shopping for Paprika, so expensive in the UK and not great quality. Also some souvenirs.

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  2. China has made a huge inroads into tourist souvenir market. They are everywhere! …. side effects of globalisation? I think so…. after all cheap price is all that matters now a days. Any idea when this market came into being?

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    1. The original market hall was built about 1897, Arv, tp consolidate smaller markets into one building. During WWII the building was badly damaged and it ended up being closed for some time. In the 90’s renovations were started to reopen the building

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    1. I’m all for people in photographs sometimes, Cornelia. But at other times I want to work with a blank canvas which can be used for composites. Not easy to do these days with travel being so easily available.

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  3. You are right, people are in the way. something those of us who love photography just deal with, but today I think it is the people you captured in the market that brought Budapest to life. Very nice. I love wandering though markets, and yummy food too. Great post.

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