By the 1890s many European big cities had enclosed market halls (Les Halles in Paris, Covent Garden in London, etc).
The Budapest Public Works Council decided to replace the then 44 open markets - posing traffic and hygiene problems - with a system of market halls. The first, the Grand Market Hall was opened in 1897, followed by 4 similar buildings on the Pest side
(see the pano of András L. Frenyo, taken in one of those
, at Rákóczi Square). The last to open was the only one on the Buda side, at Batthyányi Square, in 1902.
Samu Petz, professor of public architecture at the Technical University of Budapest received the contract to build the Grand Market Hall (although his plan came in only second during the achitect's competition that attracted 9 entries). Petz was influenced by the very popular Eiffel style of the era, which he combined with his famous bare-brick architecture. The building is covered by majolica tiles from the Zsolnay factory. Those color tiles form interesting patterns on the roof. There are also repeating geometric patterns in the brickwork, created by bricks fired to different colors.
Construction began in 1894 (to be ready for the Millenium celebrations), but a fire just 3 months before the completion delayed the opening till the 15th of March, 1897. The building was renovated and reopened for its centennial and it remains to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Budapest, and perhaps the best looking market hall in Europe. No wonder that Rudi Szabó decided to take his pano
in the same building, at a spot not far from mine...
Since I took this panorama just about a week before Easter, peasant's ham - a traditional holiday treat - dominates this butcher's stand.