The end of the year is approaching and we would like to take a look at everything we have experienced together over the past twelve months.
We have entered the new year with positive prospects that the pandemic will finally calm down, events will return, all restrictions will end and we will enjoy the big celebration of the 111th birthday of the Old Market Hall.
How did it end up?
Markets almost every Saturday
The market remained empty in January, we could not organize the markets. After a few weeks, they ran again, but still in a limited mode, with fewer marketers and no accompanying activities.
In the spring, we were able to gradually expand the markets, also the sellers of the Bratislava book exchange returned to the 1st floor. We are glad that a similar unfavorable situation has not occurred, and we were able to open the gates for you every Saturday until the end of the year and invite you to buy fresh and local food from our great marketers.
The range of vegetables was expanded by Dream Farm farmers and the Keszan family, and at the end of the year came Arancine Shop with vegetables and fragrant citrus from small Italian cooperatives. Mangalica Farma and Jozef Farda, a goose breeder, have been added to the assortment of butchers. We have also started cooperating with the Viennese craft bakery Joseph Brot, which you can look forward to in 2022. The autumn months have been enriched by the sellers of the African markets Virunga with the offer of fresh exotic fruits. Before Christmas, seasonal marketers like Medovníkovo and the bakery Kruh with their homemade sourdough Panettone were added.
Several innovations have also appeared on the market, such as new market signs, a kind of information system, thanks to which you can better orient yourself in the market aisles, and thus find your favorite seller sooner. Every Saturday, a live piano makes your shopping more pleasant, followed by young pianists Anahit Chačaturian, Martin Chovanec, Tomáš Rojček, and Martin Paulíny - thank you for being with us!
Throughout the year, we proactively adapted to the constantly changing anti-pandemic measures, thanks to which we certainly gained a lot of gray hair. It has always been, and always will be, our priority to make you feel safe in the Old Market Hall, so we will do everything in our power to keep it that way.
Contemporary art from a different perspective
Our long-term goal is to find a way to revive the market even more and make it more accessible during the week, not only during Saturday food markets. This summer, we achieved it thanks to the large-scale site-specific installation Tube from the international author team Numen / For Use. More than 18,000 visitors visited it in ten weeks.
However, the total attendance of the installation was significantly higher. During Saturday's markets, you could not enter the installation directly, but you could admire the impressive construction from different angles on both floors of the market. So we can say that in total Tube saw almost 46,000 visitors!
The preparation of the installation itself took almost three years. It was originally supposed to take place in the Old Market Hall in the summer of 2020, but then the project was thwarted by a pandemic. This year, too, it was not easy with the preparations. We had to decide whether to try to implement it during the strict lockdown in the winter. However, the tunnels suspended in the area themselves had limited capacity, so it could be assumed in advance that the project would be possible to implement even in the case of more stringent measures than those in force last summer.
Without partners, however, we would certainly not be able to implement such a project. Many thanks to Slovenská sporiteľňa, our main partner, Biela Noc festival, but also to the Bratislava Cultural and Information Center, which helped us a lot from a technical point of view.
You can read more about the summer installation of Tube here.
Closed, open. And closed again.
This is how the life cycle of our operations during a pandemic could be described. The precarious situation and the constantly changing measures have contributed to this. The operations often operated (and currently continue to operate due to the current lockdown) as windows, some of which have also set up delivery services.
The long-awaited release came in the summer, so we were able to sit comfortably not only in the interiors but also on the popular terrace on Námestie Nežnej revolúcie, where, thanks to Slovenská sporiteľňa, new colorful terrace sets were added this year.
However, several interesting changes took place during the year. Viecha malých vinárov have become Viecha naturálnych vinárov, where you can taste great wines from winemakers from all over Slovakia - those who produce wine in their vineyards without any additives - not only in the vineyard but also in the cellar. Langos Bar, which changed to Chicken Bar for almost two months, also underwent a temporary change. In the temporary pop-up, you could enjoy the crunchy chicken in the bun, fried by Lukáš Hesko.
Changes took place not only on the surface but also in the basement of the Old Market Hall, where our kitchen is located. It has been dominated since the summer by chef Daniel Karas, who has been fermenting vegetables under the Rodkva Ferments brand. You can buy these products every Saturday at Trh-Piac-Markt. Daniel is also behind the spicy-smoky-funky concept of Bechu by Rodkva, which you know from Street Food Park.
Street Food Park is back
With the arrival of the summer months, we have gradually, albeit in limited mode, renewed the Street Food Park, street flavors festival, after a break of more than six months. Although the measures gradually tightened, we did not give up, and we did everything we could to park your favorite food trucks on the square every other month. The last Street Food Park took place in November, and we hope to be able to organize it as soon as possible, in the spring.
During the summer and early autumn, several events took place in the Old Market Hall. You could enjoy a concert at the Viva Musica! Festival, admire the works of this year's Biela noc, go to the conference Ako na to or taste beer specialties at the Beer Salon. During Saturday's markets, you could also take a ceramics course in Oáza or a workshop in Lab.café, and once again we could invite you to tours of the commonly inaccessible places Invisible Market.
In the autumn, however, the pandemic situation got worse again, and this meant canceling all planned events again.
Christmas is coming and with them another lockdown
After last year's successful Christmas Market, we wanted to open the gates of the Old Market Hall for you this December and invite you to special Christmas markets. For almost the whole year, together with the organizers Urban Market and BRaK - Bratislava Book Festival, and the main partner Slovenská sporiteľňa, we have been preparing Salónka, a salon of local art, design, books, and goodies.
Compared to last year, you could also look forward to an accompanying program for children and adults, in cooperation with ASIL - Association of Illustrators, we have prepared a sales exhibition of illustrations for you. In addition to Slovak productions, the creative scene of countries from the Visegrad Four region was also to be presented during Salónka within the showroom of brands and authors of our nearest neighbors - we joined forces with the organizers of festivals Wamp (HU), Ładne Rzeczy (PL) and Zlín Design Week (CZ).
However, the pandemic situation shuffled the cards again, a lockdown came and we had to cancel Salónka with a heavy heart just before it opened.
In the Old Market Hall, we nevertheless wanted to beautify this time in some way before the holidays (and during them), which we managed to do again thanks to Slovenská sporiteľňa, and in cooperation with the Biela Noc festival. Until January 9, 2022, you can enjoy the special Christmas light installation Lines (more about the installation). The building of the Old Market Square and the square in front of it will be illuminated every day after dark by a magical play of lights, which will immerse you in a new visual landscape.
One step closer to zero waste
This year we have been looking for answers to several practical questions, including how to minimize the waste that will be generated during events and the life of the market. Did you know that during normal "non-corona" operations, we produce up to 100 kg of compostable waste per day in the entire Old Market Hall? However, we have not yet been able to process this waste ourselves, so we have exported it. We were looking for a way to process it more efficiently on our own in the market.
Thanks to Slovenská sporiteľňa, at the beginning of 2021 we purchased an industrial electric composter that can turn this waste into valuable compost, which can be used in the ecosystem again. We will be able to convert up to 50 tons of waste per year, which in practice means a reduction in the volume of municipal waste by up to 80%!
Our goal is to give the compost in the future to traders, farmers, who will then use it to grow fruit and vegetables, which you can then buy at our market. In addition, we would like to use the composter for the benefit of our surroundings, whether to compost fallen leaves from the square or to make the composter service available to our neighbors.
You can read more here.
Happy birthday, the Old Market Hall!
The building of the Old Market Hall celebrates 111 years in 2021. We originally wanted to celebrate the round 110th birthday last year, but the pandemic situation brought several complications and challenges. We said that we would rather move the celebration by a year so that we could enjoy it together with you and with the full parade.
We started preparing several activities and surprises - even though we couldn't do them all in the end, we are very happy that we managed to do at least the following:
In cooperation with the Bratislavské rožky Civic Association, we printed historical postcards, thanks to which you will get to know the view of the market when Manderlák was not yet standing on the square, or the view of the Bread Market, where the Old Market grew 111 years ago.
During the summer, we continued our cooperation and prepared a special outdoor exhibition called Trh-Piac-Markt: Multicultural Space in Prešpork. A panel pop-up exhibition in the square in front of the market took you through the history of shopping in the capital. It was devoted to the story of the Old Market Hall, which in the 111 years of its existence, thanks to its location in the city center, witnessed the historical events that shaped the course of the city and the whole country, and in which it lives to this day.
What a celebration it would be if we didn't have anything to drink! The Shenk brewery took care of that, brewing a beer birthday special - Gyula bread lager. You could enjoy a slightly turbid 11.1 ° beer with a salty aftertaste, which was caused by the fact that when it was brewed, instead of malt, the residual sourdough bread provided to us by our neighbors and YEME was used instead.
The beer was created regarding the original name of the square - the Old Market was built in 1910 on the territory of the Bread Market. The name Gyula earned the special name from the city engineer Gyula Laubner, to whom we owe the construction and completion of this beautiful building.
You can drink Gyula in the special 111th edition of our return cups. This confetti motif also appeared on your favorite canvas bags, which you can find in our merch booth.
In addition, at the end of the year, Čierne diery published a beautiful graphic by Japanese illustrator Saki Matsumoto, who knows the market from her visits to Slovakia, on the occasion of her 111th birthday. She put various characters in it with a lot of small details, there is something to discover! However, as usual, we didn't even have time to share them, they were gone right away!
The year 2021 is ending, what awaits us in the future?
We have been living with a pandemic that has changed the lives of many of us for almost two years. We are glad that despite the ever-changing and uncertain situation, the market lived this year - not everything went as planned, but we believe that we will be able to do it next year.
Our greatest wish is for the pandemic to end and we have been able to meet more often, not only in the markets, but again on Street Food Parks, at other events, or just in the square in front of the market.
We have big plans for the new year again. We are constantly working to improve and expand Saturday's markets, and we are also working on ways to open the market gates for you during the week. In the summer, together with Slovenská sporiteľňa, we would like to make another interactive installation available to you. At the same time, we believe that nothing will stand in our way, and next December we will enjoy the time together before Christmas at our Salónka.
Thank you for your support this year and we look forward to new experiences with you!