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:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.