Esterházy Palace, Fertőd
The Esterházy Palace in Fertőd is the most beautiful baroque palace in Hungary; it is also referred to as ‘the Hungarian Versailles’.
The 126-room palace surrounded by outbuildings and a 200-hectare park is the largest palace complex in Hungary and the third largest baroque palace in Europe. The centre of the building is the banquet hall upstairs with the connecting music hall.
The summer dining room under the banquet hall connects the baroque garden with the building. The structure of the nearly 200-acre garden composition is defined by the three radial visual axes ("goose feet"-alley) that start from the focus of the palace, which continue behind the "parter" (large open baroque garden), in the large Park Forest, the pheasant garden and the wild garden.
The construction and heyday of the palace is associated with Prince Miklós Esterházy "The Extravagant", who continuously carried out constructions from 1762 until his death in 1790, in order to establish a residence comparable to royal courts, and where luxurious ceremonies were common. Eszterháza was visited not only by distinguished families of the period, but also by Empress Maria Theresa, and the great composer Joseph Haydn lived and worked here as well.
Margit Cziráky Rose Garden: The era of prince Miklós Esterházy IV and his wife, Margit Cziráky was the second golden age of Eszterháza. Honoured by the locals, the Countess dreamed and built the original rose garden in 1908, which was opened to visitors in June 2016 after its renovation.
Marionette Theatre: The Marionette Theatre is located on the eastern side of the large southern park; its interior is decorated with stuccoes imitating sedges and water grottoes rich in sparkling dusty pebbles, shells and snails as well as with landscapes painted on the wall. It was opened in 1773 during the visit of Maria Theresa by playing the Philemon and Baucis piece conducted by Haydn. The Marionette Theatre was transformed into a multi-storey granary in the 19th century, when its interior decorations were completely destroyed. The building, which also changed in its exterior facades, regained its original Baroque appearance by May 2013. The Marionette Theatre, as in Haydn's time, functions as a concert and performance hall, hosting most of the concerts of the Eszterháza Celebrations.
There are also various legends associated with the palace: According to one of them Maria Theresa wanted to arrive in Eszterháza on a sled, but there was no snow in September, so according to legend the land was gritted with salt for her arrival. According to another legend, the palace gate turned out to be so beautiful at its completion that it blinded the blacksmiths that created it.