Shop tilí you drop at the Mercado Municipal.
When traveling through Brazil, don’t forget to stop off at the Mercado Municipal market. Forget the local mall or shopping plaza! Food and product markets are in no small supply in Manaus, however what sets the Mercado Municipal market aside from all the rest is the building it resides in. One of the many historic buildings found around almost every turn in Manaus, Brazil, the market sits inside a massive, gothic style palace complete with high-reaching stained glass windows. The stained glass portraits depict the economical conditions in Brazil caused by the coffee boom. It is worth getting inside the building and climbing to the mezzanine to get a clear eyeful of these works of art.
The building itself is expansive, covering over 12,000 square meters of city space. Business isn’t bad either. On a slow day, the market sees 14,000 visitors. That’s nothing compared to the busy days. On a busy day over 40,000 shoppers flood the 250 vendors that occupy the phenomenally designed building. But just what are all these shoppers purchasing, you might ask? The Mercado Municipal market is the powerhouse distribution point for meat, fish, olives, wine, oil, poultry, and other food products in Manaus. The tasty and exotic Brazilian cooking you will no doubt be experiencing in Manaus have their genesis at the Manaus city market. This is because at night, restaurants come to purchase the ingredients needed to make the extravagant dishes they serve up night after night. The owners can be seen shopping for wholesale goods until the early-morning hours. During the day however, the Mercado is open to the public to come browse the marketplace and dine in the authentic restaurants housed within the marketplace.
While the outside of the Mercado Municipal Market looks detailed and fancier than its surroundings, the inside is set up more like a flea market than an organized mall. Vendors are scattered about the expansive floor in no particular order, setting up shop wherever their carts and tables will fit. This can make shopping a tad confusing as you bob and weave from set-up to set-up, trying to make sense out of the shopping frenzy. That being said, it’s still worth the experience to stop in and give it a shot. Bringing a group of friends makes the experience much more enjoyable. Who knows, you might just uncover your new favorite brand of wine, type of cheese or seafood dish.
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