Embedded in a hi-tech bioscience & media quarter, it’s hard to imagine the Marx Halle once echoed to the sound of farmers and (nervous) livestock. A former cattle market, it now serves as one of Vienna’s main large-scale event venues.
- Fairs, shows, festivals, and more
- Also hosts multimedia (art) exhibitions
- See also:
A venue with history
(Marx Halle entrance today)
Back in the late 1870s, the city decided to put up a large, modern cattle market (Rinderhalle), presumably as the demand for Tafelspitz and other beef products rose with the growing population.
They chose a site in the St. Marx area of Vienna within a wider complex that included a slaughterhouse and associated facilities.
Handed over in early December 1880 and officially opened on January 10th, 1881, the Rinderhalle had an initial capacity of some 3-4,000 cows. (No doubt house prices downwind plummeted.)
At the time, a local agricultural paper described the new building as a colossal iron work construction with an elegant architectural design, initially closed on one side only.
(The original entrance gates to the livestock market area, as featured on a postcard produced by Carl (Karl) Ledermann jun. around 1898; Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 17788/405; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
This was the first major wrought iron construction in Vienna, though the architecture proved less of a talking point than the practicalities of selling cattle in the new market.
Just a few weeks later, on April 8th, 1881, the first formal livestock show took place with around 550 cattle, 350 sheep and 350 pigs on display.
The event must have been quite an occasion, given that Emperor Franz Joseph turned up to participate in the celebrations.
Expansions and renovations (especially after WWII damage) followed, but the market eventually closed for good in the 1990s.
From cows to concerts
(The Craft Beer Festival; photo © Craft Bier Fest / Max Garschall)
With the building under a preservation order, the Marx Halle now serves as a popular event venue with 20,000m2 of space and four locations. The shows (fortunately) now pose less of a sanitary challenge than those early livestock events.
These locations include the GLOBE WIEN, loosely modelled on Shakespeare’s Globe and presenting concerts, stand-up comedy and similar.
Of late, the Marx Halle has also hosted a series of immersive multimedia exhibitions. The current schedule at the time of writing:
- Viva Frido Kahlo: VR-enhanced immersive exhibition (until October 5th, 2023)
- Tutankhamen immersive exhibition (from October 19th, 2023 to provisionally January 21st, 2024)
Many other notable fairs, markets and festivals use the location, including several I cover here because of their interest to visitors:
- Edelstoff: a large design market with editions throughout the year
- Craft Beer Festival: breweries from Austria and abroad showcase dozens of products where the names prove as creative as the brews
- Coffee Festival: a city, a drink, a festival. A celebration of the beverage most closely associated with Vienna
(Check the Marx Halle event calendar for full listings.)
How to get to the Marx Halle
Although not in the very centre, the location is relatively easy to reach via public transport. For example:
Subway: a few minutes walk from two stations (Schlachthausgasse or Erdberg) on the U3 line that comes out from the old town. Catch the U3 from Volkstheater, Herrengasse, Stephansplatz or Stubentor in the centre, for example.
Tram: the 71 tram also comes out from the western and southern edge of the centre. Get off at the St.Marx stop. Or take the 18 tram from the Schlachthausgasse station for two stops to Viehmarktgasse.
The 18 tram also takes you from Vienna’s main station (Hauptbahnhof) to the Marx Halle (get off at St.Marx or Viehmarktgasse in this direction).
Train: the city train network has a station at St.Marx. The S7 line stops there on its way to the airport and back again.
Bus: the 80A bus also leaves from Schlachthausgasse, and its Neu Marx stop sits outside the Marx Halle itself.
Address: Karl-Farkas-Gasse 19, 1030 Wien