Hungarian world heritage site refurbished
One of the three largest castles in Hungary, a survivor of the damage suffered in the surrounding area during World War II, has undergone considerable renovation to preserve a heritage site dating back to 1750 and to accommodate many visiting tourists from both near and far.
“The establishment of a Hunting Museum and Model Railway Exposition in a new building in Festetics Castle’s park has boosted tourism in the Western region of Hungary. The new Museum plays a key role in satisfying the cultural needs of Hungarian and foreign visitors and offers many new job opportunities for local people.”
Prof. Sandor Fodor, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Festetics Castle located in Kesthely near Lake Balaton is now home to a museum for hunting enthusiasts and model trains buffs. The development of the new museum was made possible through EU assistance to revamp an unused building on the castle’s grounds.
The making of a castle
The Baroque style Festetics Castle lies in a large park just north of Keszthley town centre. Construction of the palace, which was to become home for the Festetics family for over two hundred years, began in 1745. Since this time, it has tripled in size - from 34 rooms to 101 rooms and from a French Baroque style garden to the horseshoe-shaped English garden designed by Henry Ernest Milnert.
The palace houses the Helikon Castle Museum, a library of 100 000 volumes (the country’s only remaining intact aristocratic collection), as well as one of central Europe’s largest collection of coaches and carriages in its stable block.
Thanks to the project, the refurbished building now holds the Hunting Museum and the Historical Model Railway exhibition
As a result of the development, 23 new jobs were created. The region’s economy was boosted as visitors came en masse to discover the exhibitions. Over 100 000 visitors were recorded in 2008 alone. Kids were mostly attracted by the model railway exhibition while hunting enthusiasts were impressed by the Hunting Museum’s collection.