We had nothing on the schedule for Saturday, June 22, 2013, so the Carpenters, the Felsteds and Sister Smith decided to go to Gödöllő, a small town about 45 minutes east of the Mission Home. It is noted for a large beautiful palace of one of the former ruling families of Hungary, King Francis Joseph and Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Wikipedia called it the greatest Baroque manor house in Hungary.
Over the years, since 1714 when it was first conceived, it has had many additions. We watched a movie that showed the original size and how the various additions were added and also the history of Hungarian’s beloved Queen Elizabeth – or Erzsébet – as she is known in the Hungarian language.
Unfortunately during the Soviet occupation of Hungary, most of the furnishings were taken from the building and lost and also most of the land around the palace was divided off and used for other things. There were Soviet troops stationed in the building and later it became a home for welfare cases. In 1985 serious efforts were made to begin restoration of the almost ruined building and we were able to see the results of the restoration.
Empress Elizabeth loved this summer home and loved Hungary. She learned how to speak the language, learned the history of the country and hired Hungarian women to help her. This is part of the reason she is so loved by the Hungarian people. Many items are named after her: Erzsébet Hid – one of the bridges that cross the Danube, Erzsébet tower – the watch tower on Janos Hegy – are two examples.
She and her husband had four children: one boy and three girls. After her son was assassinated, she only wore black clothing!
In addition to studying Hungarian, Erzsébet was quite a horsewoman. She had a huge indoor riding stable and she practiced special tricks with her horses.
This is the indoor riding stable today – now used for large community events. Even the horses had the finest stables and the finest care… These are now used for eating booths for receptions and other parties.
Inside the building there were long hallways that overlooked the front of the building with rooms towards the rear of the building. Some of the rooms had lots of strong colors!
One item of interest to me was that each room had its own unique “stove” that kept that room warm. They were huge. I took a picture of one, although later I learned that we were not to take pictures inside… that is why most of the pictures I have are taken from the internet.
These were wood burning stoves and each room had a different style and color. They appeared to be ceramic on the outside and one that was restored was more square and had colorful tiles all around it. it took a lot of wood to keep the palace warm in the winter time!!!
There was a Catholic Church attached to one wing of the building and it was dedicated to John of Nepomuk. That also was of interest to me, since I have a direct line ancestor, Johann Nepomuk Einhart – named for a Christian priest and martyr who refused to divulge the queen of Bohemia’s confession and therefore, was killed by throwing him in the river with a weight of some kind attached to him.
We paid for handheld audio devices that told us what was the important point of each of the various rooms and stations that were set up. After about 60 or so stations, we were pretty much saturated with information!
Here is a painting of Erzsébet. It is said that she would not allow any paintings or pictures of her taken after the age of 30. She was assassinated at age 60 by a madman who just wanted to kill anyone of royal blood. She lived from 1837-1898.
Very interesting and educational tour. It is always good to learn more about the history of Hungary and its people. Now we understand the reason that there are so many places named after Erzsébet and why the Hungarians revere her so.
On the way home we decided to stop at Westend Mall. We have never been to that mall before. It is in Pest. AND we found a TGIF restaurant! Everyone else had hamburgers – I had a wonderful salad, with real salad greens, fries and a real lemonade! Fun to find an authentic American place to eat now and then…