Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hungarian Highlights - Part 6 (Eszterhazy Palace)

Link to Part 5

THE highlight of the trip for me was without a doubt, the little day tripper from Sopron out to the Eszterhazy Palace in the small town Fertod. The main building has now been more or less restored to its former glory although some of the outbuildings are still in rough shape. The palace began life as a hunting lodge and then was slowly expanded by the Eszterhazys, a Hungarian noble family in the good graces of the ruling Hapsburgs. When it was completed in the 1766 it was referred to often as the Hungarian Versailles. Maria Theresa, mother-in-law of France's Louis XVI, spent a few nights here. Sadly, it was abandoned in the 19th century when the place was used as a stables. During WWII, it served as a hospital. During communist times, the palace continued to languish since of course restoring the house of a wealthy noble wasn't very high on the communist priority list. But more important to me than all this historical trivia was the fact that the prolific Austrian composer, Joseph Haydn spent the bulk of his professional life here.

Stranger at the gate.

Eszterhazy Palace from the front yard.

A view from the rear garden.

Some of the out buildings are still in rough shape. If I remember correctly, this structure once served as a carriage house.

100+ rooms and I still found the piano.

A little further searching led me to a second one.
The music salon where Haydn premiered his "Farewell" Symphony, in addition to many other fine works.