Stará tržnica

Bratislava, SK
Stará tržnica
Providing new life to a monumental market hall


The monumental Stará Tržnica (Old Market Hall) is being renovated and managed through a citizen association. After years of neglect, the building is now home to a lively mix of public and private activities, including a weekly food market, a weekly book market, concerts, conferences and workshops. The market hall is furthermore home to a range of social organisations. The success of the market hall has led to more development projects in the general vicinity of the market hall.


In city centre


Stará Tržnica (the Old Market Hall in English) was built in the early 20th century. It is situated at the edge of the old city centre of Bratislava and is a protected monument. Until the 1960s, the building performed its function as a market hall. After that, the new socialist regime turned it into a TV studio. It operated as such for 20 years but then got abandoned. In 1989, after changes in the political situation, the municipality regained ownership over the market hall. From then on, several attempts were undertaken to provide the building with a renewed purpose for the community. It was, among others, rented out to a private investor who planned to restore the building and utilize it for cultural activities. However, these plans failed, and the municipality retracted the contract. The municipality found funding to execute necessary renovations, and a series of annual leases were granted to an entrepreneur to develop activities. The short term lease did not lead to a necessary commitment from business partners, and the municipality discontinued the approach. After failing to find a permanent use for the building, it was used only for special occasions. [1;2]

In 2013, a citizen initiative called Aliancia Stará Tržnica (Alliance Old Market Hall) took on the management of the building. Nowadays, there is a weekly food market, book market, and a range of cultural and educational events. A fab-lab and workshops for activities such as woodwork are located in the building. Furthermore, it is home to several organisations, including cafés/bistros, several food producers,  The Bratislava Volunteer Center, a greenhouse/adoption center for unwanted plants and a bicycle courier service. Environmental sustainability is factored in in the renovation of the building. There is a recycling station, and infrastructure has been installed to compost the waste generated in the building. [1;2]

The success of the market hall has led to the redevelopment of the area around the market hall in a project called “Živé námestie” (Vivid Square), which is aimed at reviving the square around the Market Hall. Aliancia Stará Tržnica initiated this project in cooperation with the municipality and a range of partner organisations. It has been the start of wider investments in the public space in Bratislava. [4;6] Part of the team behind Aliancia Stará Tržnica has also started renovations of an iconic 19th century bathing house that has been closed for 30 years. [7]


Heritage utilized
Building(s) and/or monumental structures
Cultural and Creative Industries; Resilient and Human Connected places
Community action; Energy transition; Entertainment; Sharing economy; Public space


The market hall building is still under the municipality’s ownership. In 2013, a rental agreement was signed with Aliancia Stará Tržnica. This citizen association is comprised of eleven citizens, all with different professional backgrounds, who shared their discontent for the lack of use of the historical building in the centre of Bratislava. Aliancia Stará Tržnica rents the market hall for a symbolic price of 1 euro per year for 15 years. They manage the building and have obliged themselves to conduct maintenance and renovations to the building for the time of the contract. The municipality acts as a supervisory board that approves of investments. [1;3;4]



Governance arrangement
Led by citizens / community group
Organisational form
Non-Profit Entity
Stakeholders involved in implementation
Citizens or Community groups; Local government; Private sector business

Business Model

About 60 to 70% of the revenue is generated through private and public-private events organised in the market hall, like concerts and conferences. Moreover, income is generated through rent paid by organisations that operate from the building. This is a mix of commercial and social organisations. The initiative stimulates social use of the space by maintaining low rent and allowing the deduction of investments in the buildings they did from the rent over the course of ten years. The initiative also organises a regular bazaar where people can donate items. [4;5]

The initiative has been experimenting with a local community currency. During the experiment, Euros could be exchanged for this local currency, which could be spent in the market. The spender could avail of a 2 % reduction of taxes through the local currency. In establishing this community currency, the initiative hoped to stimulate local spending in the market hall. At the moment, the local currency is not in use anymore. [3]

All revenue generated by the association goes towards the maintenance and renovation of the building. Through the rental contract with the municipality, Aliancia Stará Tržnica has obliged itself to invest approximately € 120.000 in the building every year. These investments do not happen linearly but are based on the investment needs and include investments from the alliance directly and from other operators in the building. [4] The initiative aims to transfer their logic of focusing on community value while maintaining the minimum required economic value to operate to the (re)development of more abandoned buildings in the area. [4]


Initial investment
€120.000 per year for 15 years
Type of financial resources utilized
Revenue generated through organisational activities; Donations
Source of financial resources
Organisational activities; Crowdfunding
Non-financial contributions


  1. Stará tržnica, official website Alliance Old Market Hall,, accessed on 07/02/2022

  2. URBACT [n.d.] The New Old Market Hall in Bratislava. Available at:, accessed on 07/02/2022

  3. URBACT (2018), 2nd Chance | Good Practice Compilation, edited by Nils Scheffler et al., available on, accessed on 07/02/2022

  4. Cooperative City Magazine (2016), Stará Tržnica – New Purpose For A Public BuildingDecember 23, Available at:, accessed on 07/02/2022

  5. Stará tržnica (2013), Annual Report 2013 [translated to English], Available at:, accessed on 07/02/2022

  6. “Živé námestie” (Vivid Square), initiative website,, accessed on 07/02/2022

  7. City of Bratislava (2021), Bratislava will renovate its iconic Grössling Bath, 26th of February 2021, available via Bratislava will renovate its iconic Grössling Bath, accessed on 28/02/2022