The Savoy Castle is an 18th-century Baroque style palace. Construction of the spacious home was begun in 1702 at the commissioning of Prince Eugene of Savoy and finished in approximately 1722. Prince Eugene of Savoy acquired Csepel Island in 1698, and thereafter began the planning process of this 'maison de plaisance'.
Eugene commissioned Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, a student of the Roman Carlo Fontana, to design the castle. Seven letters from Hildebrandt to the prince remain in the archives of the Gonzaga family in Mantua and evidence planning and construction information about the castle.
The castle has side-wings which were completed in 1714, and the whole construction process was finished around 1720 to 1722. The prince did not reside in Ráckeve mansion after it was finished, and following his death, the estate was appropriated by the Crown.
Under the reign of Maria Theresia of Austria, the mansion and the adjoining land in Csepel was managed by the Hungarian Chancery. In 1814, the middle part of the mansion, along with the stately Baroque cupola, was destroyed by fire; what is seen today was rebuilt after the fire.
Until its reconstruction in the 1980s, the mansion suffered constant decline. The castle has enjoyed renovation and revitalization, and it is now used as a hotel, which is called the Savoyai Mansion Hotel.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.