March is the month of junk clearance in many districts in Budapest. It practically means that the streets get filled with dead and broke (or not) furniture and electronics.
And what is junk for one can be a treasure for another, and that’s why flea markets are so popular.
On a sunny Sunday morning we decided to check out the biggest flea market in Budapest which is actually one of the biggest in the whole of Central Europe. (Be aware that Hungarians prefer themselves and their country to be referred to as Central Europeans rather than Eastern Europeans:)
The market is pretty far from the city center, so you need to take a taxi or use public transport. If you do the latter, take tram number 4 or 6 to Boráros square, and when you get there you can take either bus no. 54 or 55. Your stop will be exactly the 20th one (Naszód utca – Használtcikk piac) and it will take no more than half an hour. The market is on the other side of the street though, so you will need to cross the street on a pedestrian bridge.
We were spoilt enough to jump in a car and took our photographer with us instead of using public transport. The market is open on weekdays as well, but the busiest day is definitely Saturday. Even on Sunday we saw lots of closed shops and pulled-down doors and instead of a crowd we were amongst a couple of saunterers.
Could you imagine that the great ancestor of this market originally was next to the Opera House? By the Millennium celebrations of Hungary in 1896 the whole thing was moved to Teleki square in District VIII. Finally, the Ecseri got its current location in the 1960’s.
The market is a mixture of open air stalls, shops and little streets. If you have eagle eyes it’s easy to find real treasures, although there are hundreds of copies as well. Haggling is compulsory and the vendors are generally open for this; however, only cash will do.
Now let’s see the prices: you can buy Herend China pieces from 10.000 Huf (30€) although it’s not easy to find complete sets. We bought some beautiful trinket earrings for 4000 Huf (13€) and these gorgeous soda-bottles on the picture below cost about 10€.
If you go to the Hungarian countryside, you can still see the modern version of these beautiful retro soda-bottles. It’s not surprising: the production of soda water was invented by Ányos Jedlik, a Hungarian physicist who, in 1826, built the first soda water machine. His name is linked to the first Hungarian soda manufacturing plant as well. Initially, the soda water crafts were produced by local artisans and sold in these gorgeous glass bottles. It was the third largest industry in the 1800s. If we’re talking about soda, we have to mention the Hungarians’ favourite summer refreshment, the spritzer, but let’s leave something for the next posts!
Now let the pictures speak for themselves:
After all, the vendors are not too happy these days, as one of them told us: ‘Antique has no value anymore. Youngsters are interested in the Internet only, and they don’t want treasures…’
If you’re looking for other flea-markets in the city, here you can find our suggestions:
On this site you can see a nice collection of flea markets. Our pick is the Gozsdu Bazaar.