Gödöllő: the most impressive palace in Budapest
The Grassalkovich Castle is one of the largest and most important monuments of Budapest’s Palace architecture. Count Antal Grassalkovich I, its builder, was a typical figure of the Hungarian aristocracy and a confidant of Empress Maria Theresa. It is said that the construction of the palace began in 1733.
The palace underwent a few modifications and enlargements during the 18th century. Interestingly, besides the residential part, the building contained a theatre, church, hothouse, riding-fall, orangery, greenhouse, and was surrounded by a beautiful park.
After the significant part of the Grassalkovich family died out, the palace had several owners, and in 1867 it was bought for the King of Hungary. Hungarian kings stayed there for shorter or longer periods until 1918.
During this royal period, the Grassalkovich Castle became the symbol of independent Hungaria and had a political significance of its own. It is said, that Queen Elisabeth especially loved staying in Gödöllő, where both Hungarians and palace personnel warmly welcomed her. Perhaps it was so because she was fluent in Hungarian. A memorial park was built next to the palace following her tragic death.
After the second world war, the palace, like many other buildings in Budapest, fell into decay. Some of the beautiful rooms were used for a senior’s home, Hungarian and Soviet troops used the other part of the castle, and the enormous park was divided into small plots of land.
Make sure to visit the Empress Elisabeth Exhibition – its historical accuracy is breathtaking, as it was around the 1880s. The Grand Hall and the painted foyer are worth a visit as well, especially for various gastronomic activities and programs.
Don’t miss the cheerful inner court. Nowadays it is a resting place for visitors and a perfect location for various outdoor activities, like concerts and games. By the way, the 26-hectare English park is a nature reserve since 1998.