The Festetics Family is one of the most significant ducal families in Hungary. The family, who was of Croatian origin, moved to Hungary in the 17th century. In 1739 Christopher Festetics (1696-1768) bought the Keszthely estate and its appurtenances, and chose it to be the centre of his estates. He began the construction of the Festetics Palacein 1745. The two-storey, U-shaped, 34-room Baroque palace was rebuilt several times in the 18th and 19th centuries. Between 1769 and 1770 Paul Festetics III, Christopher’s son had the building reconstructed. The wings were enlarged while the facades remained unaltered. His son, George Festetics I, started the next major reconstruction in 1792. He added the southern library wing to the palace.
Between 1883 and 1887 Tassilo Festetics II had the northern wing demolished and a new wing built which was joined to the old one by a turreted central part. Thus, he almost doubled the size of the palace. The building was covered with a mansard roof, and fitted with central heating and plumbing. After the modification of the facades and the interiors, especially the staircases, the palace acquired its present form.
The building is surrounded by a nature reserve park. The sights in the park include trees that are hundreds of years old, colourful flowerbeds, fountains, statues – among them the full-figure bronze statue of George Festetics I –, the garden pond and the fountain decorated with lions. The palm house and the former coach house with the coach exhibition can be found in the park, while the new building of the hunting exhibition and the historical model railway exhibition is opposite the back gate of the park.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.