Magyar

Helikon Palace Museum – the Aristocratic Lifestyle

Festetics Palace
Keszthely
Balaton

All of us have imagined what it would be like to live as a member of the aristocracy – to wander among the labyrinthine, lavishly decorated rooms of castle, to stroll around the garden with its giant palmery between grand soirées, to select transportation from dozens of horse-drawn carriages.

Well, we have good news for you: experiencing this magnificent lifestyle no longer needs to be limited to your imagination. If you’re ever around the ‘Hungarian Sea’, make sure to visit the Helikon Palace Museum located in Festetics Palace in Keszthely.

A bit of history

The Festetics family played a key political, cultural and economic role in Hungarian history, but perhaps their most important legacy is Festetics Palace. Constructed in a Baroque style, it is one of the largest buildings of its kind in Hungary. It was not always this large, however. Its construction began in 1745, by Kristóf Festetics, who also made many other significant contributions to the development of Keszthely, located at the western end of Lake Balaton, including building hospitals and helping craftsmen settle there. Although Kristóf’s son had his own plans for expanding the building, his grandson, György Festetics (the First) ended up being the one to continue the renovation and expansion works in 1792. The castle then underwent further expansion and renovations, only reaching its current form in the 1880s. But perhaps you would like to see the results of this century and a half of construction for yourself. When you catch a glimpse of this magnificent building, you will no doubt understand why the process took so long, and why Festetics Palace is considered one of the most beautiful sights in Hungary.

The Park of Festetics Palace

A palace exhibition presenting the life of an aristocrat

 

Upon entering the gates of Festetics Palace, you will immediately find yourself immersed in the authentic lifestyle of the Hungarian aristocracy: the interior has no less than 18 chambers demonstrating the lifestyle of the 18th and 19th century aristocracy, all original and faithfully refurnished according to the contemporary style.

The castle enterior exhibition

The priceless Helikon library

 

There are few libraries in the world that have survived the ravages of war and looting. The Helikon library, however, is one of them. Its good fortune is due to the fact that a Soviet officer had it walled off in World War II, preserving the collection of extremely rare books collected over two centuries. Over 500 years of stored knowledge and art, both Hungarian and foreign, await you in the only preserved baronial library in Hungary.

 

The Helikon Library

An exotic palmery and a rare aviary

 

While the garden connected to the palace is itself a gorgeous nature reserve, the palmery contains some of the most beautiful species of tropical and Mediterranean plants and the aviary has birds from all over the world.

 

An imposing hunting exhibition

 

Glorious hunting trophies are an all-but-mandatory part of the aristocratic lifestyle, and the hunting exhibition presents more than 200 species of wild game.

 

A truly multifaceted carriage exhibition

 

There is of course one more thing that was a core part of the everyday life of a Hungarian aristocrat living in the 18th and 19th centuries: the horse-drawn carriage. This exhibition presents visitors with over 50 contemporary carriages, landaus and horse-drawn sleds.

 

An extremely detailed, historically accurate model train exhibition

 

The gigantic terrain tables hold one of the largest historical model train exhibitions in Europe.

 

Travels of centuries past in the Amazon House Visitor Centre

 

The interactive exhibition in what was previously the Amazon Hotel building will give you a glimpse of travel in centuries past, including the preparations, the road networks and the age of airships, ships and carriages.

The luxury of the Festetics family comes to life on your screen

If you’d like a little taste of what we have to offer, we’d certainly recommend you take a virtual 3D tour around the Helikon Palace Museum. We guarantee it’ll make your jaw drop, and you’ll immediately make a trip to the Festetics Palace a top priority when visiting Hungary. If you do decide to visit this amazing location in person, don’t forget to visit the notable Benedictine Abbey of Tihany as well.

 

 

move around like a hungarian