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the lighting and the cold storage areas were very modern in their time and are still in use. Formerly, laden barges sailed right into a special entrance marked by a notice: “TUNNEL INTO THE CENTRAL MARKET HALL”. The hall’s greatest attraction is its roof structure, with its amazingly large space underneath. The roof has resisted the ravages of time better than the plastered walls. Let’s walk from the main entrance to the end of the hall and then go up to the gallery where you will see the most horrendously kitschy souvenirs (intended for the “other tourists”) with large notices warning that they are for wholesale only. The market is changing. The old-fashioned market-women, dressed in black or black and white, and always ready for some loud bargaining, are slowly disappearing. Instead, the rowdy, 30 to 40 year-old small businessman with his well-dressed wife at the stall, cracking endless jokes with the customers, is becoming the typical figure. There are still some – although fewer and fewer – peasant women in black skirts with scarves on their heads, Transylvanian visitors selling clothes, or provincially-dressed smallholders. They all represent the old local color. It’s worth walking around to indulge in applied people watching. Buy some sausages and pickles, just like the accidental bricklayer next to you who just left the renovation in the next block and is likely not to be registered with the National Employment Authority, since he is from Transylvania and “just visiting relatives” in Budapest. On leaving the market from the rear triangular annex, we will arrive at an unremarkable, neglected part of Ferencváros, which is one of the great reserve areas of Corvinus University. There are plans for a new wing for the library and new lecture halls. The three remaining old market storage halls on the riverfront will be converted into a municipal cultural centre by 2010 - the accepted design shows an eccentric glass roof that connects the three buildings. The Naffest of the Naff Public Buildings: a “Sincere” Trans­ former Station 21D ••• Behind the university building, this overwhelming, boring brick wall is a parody of a building. It houses a transformer station and is a typical, “unpretentious” late-1960s building (i.e. it refuses to “pretend” to be a house of any kind). Rather, it shows utter disrespect and irreverence to its surrounding environment. Corvinus University Campus 21E IX. Közraktár utca 6. ••• This new campus was built in a public-private partnership, for about 4,000 teachers and students and occupies the area of about eight

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soccer fileds. Anyone is free to walk in, the receptionists are friendly, and you can discover the building. The main attraction is a several-floor-high light wall which is a work of art: an information board crossed with fun. It is most interesting that 17 economics professors are immortalized throughout the building, their faces with their bithdates and dates of death are printed on orange walls. It is decorative and fitting, and there is lots of originality throughout the building (Antal Lázár and associates, 2007.) To the left of the building there is a giant plastic work by György Jovánovics, entitled “Grand Corvinus Sundial” (2009.) CET Cultural Center 21F IX. Közraktár utca 1. ••• This iconic new complex was not yet completed when this edition went to press. Based on three old warehouses, designed by Kas Osterhuis, the Dutch architect, it is meant to be a new Budapest Covent Garden. The name is a pun in English and Hungarian: CET means Central European Time, but also “whale” or “cetacean”, which is a hint at the shape of the building. “Budapest’s Soho”: Ráday utca ••• This old Ferencváros street has had a long history. In 1734, when estate registering was first introduced in Pest, there was only one house on it. Its present character came into being in the 1990s when district Mayor Ferenc Gegesy (who has been mayor since 1990), a lover of the arts and life, did everything he could to create a special character here by attracting cafés and cultural initiatives. The name “Soho” began to be used in association with the street around 2000. This is a loose term for the galleries, cafés and street life in the area around Ráday utca and Mikszáth tér, where the multiplication of cafés seems to be unstoppable. Some have already changed owners, décors or names, like that pleasant one on the corner of Erkel and Ráday, which belonged to the Armenian Church before World War Two. The block is also the home of two egghead celebrities of literary Budapest: the family of professor/critic/egghead/radio anchorman Tamás Tarján has lived here all of his life, while novelist/sociologist/editor Pál Závada moved here in the 1990s.

Walk THREE

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Ráday Collection and Library (Ráday Galéria) 21G IX. Ráday utca 28., www.rgy.hu/general.html ••• Few young people who flock here to spend their evenings in the cafés know who Gedeon Ráday (1713 – 1792) was. He was a landowner, a generous supporter of the arts and a poet. His main achievement was the compilation of his library, which was one of the foremost of his times. After his death his library was bought by the Hungarian

2011.04.20. 15:49:35

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András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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