Kreuzberged on Berlin’s best-loved Market Hall…
Designed by architect Hermann Blankenstein, Markthalle IX is a beautiful example of Berlin’s utilitarian urban architecture. One of fourteen such market halls in total—all built in the nineteenth century and strewn across the city in an effort to sanitize and organize the previous outdoor markets—when it opened in 1891, the hall was filled with 300 stands offering everything from herring to candles to bread and buttons.
By 1945, it was one of the only three remaining, the rest smashed to pieces by Allied bombs. For the next few decades it more or less languished, eventually playing half-hearted host to a couple of low budget supermarkets. Plans were slated to sell the building to one of the supermarket chains, who wanted to demolish the entire structure and replace it with shopping/underground-car-park combo.
The building was saved from the wrecking ball in 2011 thanks to the intervention of three entrepreneurs—Florian Niedermeier, Bernd Maier and Nikolaus Driessen—who persuaded the Berlin Senate to let them re-open it as a marketplace and breathe new life into the neighbourhood.
Employing architect Peter Lemburg to re-touch the interior, the current iteration of the market hall has 2,850m² of shop space (including the two discount supermarkets which moved in years ago but which only take up 450m² today) along with several food stands that follow strict principles of sustainability, small-scale-business and direct contact between producer and customer.
Every Friday and Saturday (10am-6pm) at the Wochenmarkt, you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables from Berlin-Brandenburg and neighbouring regions, as well as enjoy a spread of cheeses, coffees, wines, meats, pastries and street food offerings from counters and stalls like Kumpel und Keule, Alma Käsetheke, Big Stuff, Goldmond bakery, 100PCT, Ferhan Feinkost, and many more.
In 2012 Markthalle IX also opened their own house brewery, Brauerei Heidenpeters, which is located in the former butcher cellars and concocts, among other fantastic drinks, a delicious ginger beer based on their own recipe.
As well as the regular Street Food Thursday, which brings Berliners from every Kiez to try the latest international delights, there are also regular events like the four-times-yearly Naschmarkt (“Sweet Tooth Market”), a feast of all things sinful and sugary, plus wine events and pop-up community dinners.
All the forthcoming events at the Markethalle IX, both regular and special, are announced on two slightly retro-looking blackboards hanging inside the main hall at the Pücklerstrasse entrance, and you can keep up to date via their website also.