Budapest Christmas markets can only be visited with an immunity card
Andras Nagy in Budapest
Vörösmarty Square is one of the iconic Christmas venues in Budapest. However, due to the pandemic, this year's fair is a little different to before: it can only be visited with a vaccination card or immunity certificate.
"We wanted to make sure that people visiting this fair can leave without getting the disease. That was first of all why we introduced this measure," director of the organizing Budapest agency, Csaba Faix told CGTN.
"And secondly of all, to meet Hungarian law, it was mandatory. We are expecting 1,000 people for this fare every night, and according to Hungarian law if you organize anything for more than 500 people it is mandatory to have a vaccination card", Mr Faix added.
Some come to enjoy hot drinks, others are in the hunt for a Christmas present. Visitors don't seem bothered by the safety rules. "In France we have the same rule, so it's the same", said one tourist from France.
"I have a vaccination certificate, so it's not a problem for me, because there are the same rules in my country", said another man from Ukraine.
Traders are a bit less happy but they welcome the fact that there is a Christmas fare at all.
"The current fair is much different, with fewer craftspeople around because of the cordon. But we're happy to be here, something is finally happening - it seems we have to coexist with Covid," one trader of textile goods told CGTN.
"We are fenced, which is a big difference from before. Fortunately, there are still quite a few people in the square," said a man selling ceramics.
With nearly 50 artisans' stalls, unique items from ceramics and tempting gingerbread to designer hats and scarves can be found here. For the first time this year, catering outlets will be able to offer cash-free payment to avoid handling cash.
As the smell of mulled wine fills the square, those here seem to be enjoying themselves. For many traders and customers alike, it comes after a hard year of dealing with the pandemic and uncertainty over what fresh challenges the next year will bring.