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The Viktualienmarkt developed from an original farmers' market to a popular market for gourmets. In an area covering 22,000 m2 (240,000 sq ft), 140 stalls and shops offer flowers, exotic fruit, game, poultry, spices, cheese, fish, juices and so on.
Most stalls and shops are open during the official opening hours (Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.); but the Biergarten doesn't open until 9 a.m. Many stalls close at 6 p.m., before the standard closing time. There are special opening hours for flower shops, bakeries and restaurants.
When today's Marienplatz (the former Schrannenplatz) as a store for cereals and other agricultural products had become too small, Viktualienmarkt as its official successor evolved where it is still situated today due to a decree issued by King Maximilian I on 2. May, 1807. The King ordered that those parts of the market between Heiliggeist Church and Frauenstraße should be relocated and told the municipal authorities to demolish the buildings of the charitable Heiliggeist hospice which had been acquired by the city. Thus the "green market" had its own place, which was also named "market place" for some time. It was only later that the word "Viktualien" (victuals), which is a Latin word for food, was used. From 1823 to 1829 the central market already had to be enlarged significantly. In 1885 the ancient Heiliggeist infirmary was demolished and the Heiliggeist Church was extended to the west. Thus a new image was created for both the market and the city. In 1852 the precursor of today's Großmarkthalle, the Schrannenhalle, was built close to the ancient city wall at the end of Blumenstraße. It burned down in 1932 and was reopened in 2005. In 1855 the fish market was moved to Westenriederstraße. In the course of time many additions were made to the market, as for example a butchers' hall, a tripe hall, pavilions for bakeries, fruit vendors and a fish hall. The butchers' shops at the foot of Petersbergl (Peter's hill, site of Peter's Church), the stalls for poultry and venison and the stands of the flower vendors expanded even further. During World War II this square with its cosy atmosphere was severely damaged. There was even talk of closing down the market in order to erect multi-story buildings on this important site. Instead, the municipal authorities revitalised Viktualienmarkt with considerable financial support, and the citizens of Munich enriched it with memorial fountains for the folk singers and comedians Karl Valentin, Weiß Ferdl and Liesl Karlstadt. Later, memorial fountains for the folk singers and comedians Ida Schumacher, Elise Aulinger and Roider Jackl were added.
The market also hosts a number of traditional and folkloric events such as weighing celebrities, brewers' day, gardeners' day, opening of the asparagus season, summer festival, dance of the market women on Shrove Tuesday, etc. Hence the Viktualienmarkt, which has been a pedestrian zone since November 6, 1975 is also a meeting point.
The Viktualienmarkt is organized by the Wholesale Market Munich. The Wholesale Market Munich, together with Viktualienmarkt, Elisabethmarkt, Pasing Viktualienmarkt, Wiener Markt and the Weekly Markets in Munich, are operated by Munich Markets, a municipal company run by the City of Munich.