The History of the Progreso Market in Buenos Aires City
El Mercado del Progreso (The Market of Progress) is a historical and locally owned market in the beautiful Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Caballito. Built by The Society of Progress Caballito this market opened its doors in December 1889 and after more than 125 years is still going strong. It was given the status of being a cultural heritage site by the city government in 2001. It is a weekly pitstop for many chefs and local foodies for its variety and quality ingredients. Originally the market was owned privately by a single owner, Don Santiago Cangallo who earnt a place in the neighbourhoods´ hearts and memories when he offered meat to the poor families around Caballito. However by 1957 the market faced financial woes and the stalls tenants joined forces with the owner and became co-owners of the property and established a corporation to oversee the commercial success of the market. Many of the stalls contained in El Mercado del Progreso have been past down through the generations and to this day 60 of the stalls are owned by grandchildren or great grandchildren of the original pioneers. This really is the historical family owned market you have been waiting for. Check their Website http://mercadodelprogreso.com
The Progressive Market.
Despite several extensive renovations and tripling in size since its conception El Mercado del Progreso still retains much of its historical aesthetic. The most significant of these renovations came in 1930 when the market received its permanent roof and Art Deco styled facade and clock face which are still part of the building to this day. Inside however the original pavilion roof in the centre is still clearly visible. Traditionally all the meats were sold in the centre of the pavilion as the higher ceiling and lack of walls meant better ventilation. Fish was and still is sold in one of the side galleries where they installed marble slabs and a constant water source. Their cleanliness, facilitated by the extensive use of marble and ventilation were innovative for their time. It was thought to be one of the most hygienic markets of its time really living up to its name The Market of Progress.
Progreso Market Products.
The market continues to show off its progressiveness in its products. Each stall has an incredible variety of products. I must admit at times their pricing is not particularly competitive with the local vege shops so it’s not necessarily the best place to shop for basics.I will say that although the fresh produce is a little more expensive on average it all looked beautiful, full of colour and freshness. The market is however the best place to find that hard to find exotic produce, specialty items or that key imported ingredient you just have to have to make your favourite dish. This is certainly an area where the market shines, and more attractive price tags than other specialty shops I have found for foreign goods. In terms of prepared food as well as boosting a pizzeria and a bar/cafe there is also Arab Meals and the European Deli. Another area that the market is rocking is the extensive range of local and imported wine and liquor at Vinoteca Vicente. Overall this is certainly a place to come for oddities and rarities that are a struggle to locate in Buenos Aires.
Progreso Market Services
Edibles and tasty treats are not the only products on offer here. Casa Mari is your one stop shop for all your haberdashery needs. You can get your shoes resoled at Casa Danelli, your loose buttons fixed at Monica Zarza and your tools sharpened at Casa Aurora. There are two hairdressers, a dentist and a fitness studio which offers martial arts training. There are experts on everything you need to spruce up your home. Miguel offers his carpentry skills and custom built furniture and Naomi Flores has all your gardening needs. And the market has not forgotten the creatives out there, The Wave offers classes in painting and drawing, West Theater Studio has workshops for acting and music as well as yoga and Tango classes. If you prefer your art on your body head to Green Mamba Tattoo Studio for all your tattoo and piercing needs.
How to get to Mercado del Progreso
This market has also earnt a place in Argentina’s literary history when the writer Roberto Arlt, who lived in Caballito set his debut novel “The rabid toy” in the Mercado del Progreso which was published in 1926. The protagonist of the novel traces the stalls selling newsprint to butchers and fishmongers as he loses himself to the backstreets of Buenos Aires and a life of crime. So there are many reasons to take a little time to visit this historical market. It only takes 30 mins to see the whole market, unless you spark up a conversation with one of the friendly merchants of course. Or really get your shopping on. The markets main entrance is on Avenida Rivadavia 5430, directly across the small plaza in front of the Webway station Primera Junta on the A line. There are also countless bus routes that will take you here as Av. Rivadavia is one of the main avenidas out of the city. Or of course you can always walk and get to know the beautiful Caballito a little more. However you get here you will be glad you did and you won’t be leaving empty handed.
Do you know this Market? What was your experience here?. We would love to hear from you!
For more information about Mercado del Progreso contact our Spanish School in Buenos Aires or visit us at Viamonte 1516, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina [email protected] 011 59842201 Vamos Spanish Academy