Gödöllő, Grassalkovich Palace (kastély)
The renovated rooms of the impressively large Baroque palace, together with the items on display, call up the history of the building, the famous visitors, and the former noble and royal residents. This Palace (kastély) was constructed by Anthony I. Grassalkovich around 1735. It enjoyed a second golden age during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in the second half of the 19th century. The exhibit entitled the Age of Grassalkovich brings to life the commissioning family and the Baroque period. The faithful reconstruction of the suites of Franz Joseph I, Austro-Hungarian Emperor and King of Hungary, and Queen Elizabeth, conjure up the royal period of the building. In a separate exhibition, the Palace Museum pays special tribute to the queen, the internationally adored Sisi, the woman who was way ahead of her time and who spent more time in Gödöllo than in Schönbrunn. Hungary’s only Baroque theatre is here in this palace; it has a double row of boxes and excellent stage equipment. The Royal Hill Pavilion (Király dombi Pavilon) constructed during the 1760’s is decorated with images of the Hungarian chieftains and portraits of kings in the palace’s ancient park (kastély ősparkja). The palace is host to numerous concerts and festivals throughout the year. Visitors can dress in period costumes and have their photographs taken in the Photograph Room (Fotóműterem). (From hungarystartshere.com)
The Gödöllö Royal Palace is the largest baroque palace in Hungary and the second largest in the world after Versailles. It is famous for its unique history and its architecture that had set out a trend to follow. The builder, Count Antal Grassalkovich I, who enjoyed the confidence of Empress Maria Theresa, was the most prestigious nobleman of the 18th century in Hungary. The palace was build in the centre of Gödöllö property and represented the lifestyle of the nobility of the age in an excellent way. The Grand Hall flaunted in white and gold. Rooms were decorated with frescoes. The Bath and the Orangerie were covered with marble. The palace had a specious Riding Hall, a Baroque Theatre, not to mention the surrounding Palace Park. From 1867 to 1916 the building served as a favourite resort for Emperor Francis Joseph I and Queen Elisabeth. Later, between 1920 and 1944 it was a summer residence for Governor Miklós Horthy. After the World War II the palace was used as a barrack of the Soviet Army. After the retreat of the Soviets, reconstruction of the palace was begun. Following the acceleration of the renovation works in 1994 the central part of the Palace opened in its original glory in 1996, year of millecentenary of Hungarian conquest. As a permanent exhibition of the Gödöllö Royal Palace Museum you can visit the Grand Hall, the renovated Royal Suits and the Queen Elisabeth Memorial Exhibition. The 26 rooms of the palace provide a view on the days of the Royal Family spent in Gödöllö, and also a look at Hungary, part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. (From suite101.com)
Some interesting places in the palace:
- Grand Hall is a most representative room of the palace. Its wall are covered with marble, its ceiling is decorated with floral-ornamental, glided stucco. The Hall is the scene of music concerts.
- Lonyai Room has a direct access from the Main Entrance. This room is special for the selected Hapsburg Portraits from the Lonyai collection.
- Hunter Room. Its walls are decorated with trophies and photos of the famous old hunts in Gödöllö.
- Painted Room is a very special section room with an intimate atmosphere provided by its painted vaulted ceiling and the reconstruction pictures of the layered painting of the Orangerie Pavilion.
- Secret Rooms of Queen Elisabeth.
- Grand Court is surrounded by Main Wings of the Palace. It has a festive mood. It provides a view on the Palace Park of 28 hectares. The ancient park is full of botanical rarities. It was the scene of Queen Elisabeth’s horse rides.
Admittingly, we were driven to the palace, about 30 minutes outside of Budapest, to see an exhibition, not necessarily to visit the palace. The exhibition was free, however the palace was about $5 to enter. Two people from out group attempted to sneak in to see the rooms upstairs for free about an hour prior to closing, but were caught and turned away. They then bought tickets and went on the tour. The remaining members of our group had coffee, lemonade and beer. The palace is remarkably close to the main road through the village of Gödöllő and is quite impressive inside and out. The grounds out back are under construction and cannot be accessed.