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Brunszvik Castle, Beethoven Museum

Brunszvik CastleMartonvásárGreater Budapest

Why is there a Neo-Gothic castle in Martonvásár and what does this place have to do with Beethoven? You can find out by visiting the magnificent Brunszvik Castle which, in addition to the Beethoven Museum, also awaits you with a fabulous English garden.  

Construction of the snow-white-walled castle began in 1784, but it was not until the early 1800's that the estate fell into the hands of the famous Brunszvik family, who then kept changing the building, which originally featured Baroque-style elements, for decades. Brewer Antal Dreher bought the building, which was converted into a military hospital during World War II, at the end of the century. At present, both the castle and the surrounding property are under the management of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The most magnificent part of the castle is the 70-hectare English garden, where special trees such as dwarf almonds, cedars, swamp cypresses, Japanese acacias, sycamores and alders were planted by its creator, Ferenc Brunszvik. The landscape architect of the English Garden was none other than Heinrich Nebbien, who was also responsible for designing City Park. One special feature of the park is that the water of the Szent László Creek flowing through it was dammed and an island created in the middle of the lake. There is also an outdoor stage on the island, where concerts are held regularly.  

And how does Beethoven relate to all this?

According to written records, Beethoven visited Martonvásár three times to teach the Brunszvik girls when they were in their twenties. Although he did not like to teach, Beethoven made an exception with Teresa and Josephine Brunszvik. He developed a friendship with the family through teaching, and the girls’ brother, Ferenc, became a serious patron of the composer. Beethoven dedicated his Appassionata to him, which he incidentally completed in the park of the castle in Martonvásár – on the island, as legend has it, under a large poplar. The castle commemorates this special story by housing the Beethoven exhibition, showcasing the renovated Streicher piano used by the composer and correspondence with Josephine, among other things. In fact, there is also a truly bizarre relic on display: a pendant containing Beethoven's hair.  

Walk in the shadow of the ancient trees

Once you have learned about the history of the Brunszvik family and Beethoven, and admired the building inside and out, be sure to head to the park. A pleasant path leads along the lake, in the shade of the sizable trees. Walk across the wooden bridge and look for the gem of the island, the Beethoven memorial tree. It’s easy to relax in the tranquil quiet of the park, and if you’re lucky, you can see ducks, swamp turtles or even otters swimming peacefully in the lake.