The King’s Castle of Gödöllo
Another royal residence of unique beauty is situated at the distance of 30km from Budapest in the town called Gödöllo. This King’s palace is often called the Grassalkovich Palace, in honour of its first owners.
At the beginning of the XVIII century Count Antal Grassalkovich decided to build a new palace in rather popular at those time Rococo style. A famous architect Anton Mayerhofer worked on the construction of this castle that later became one of the most beautiful and majestic palace and park complexes in Hungary. Construction works lasted for almost 30 years. The main building of the palace was built the first, other buildings were constructed later. Finally, the palace complex in Gödöllo acquired the form of the Latin letter U.
By the year 1749, in the northern part of the palace complex a Catholic chapel, a horse stable, and a coal upper store had been constructed, inner yard was also completed. Interior of the building also obtained its wonderful and unique appearance – each hall turned into luxurious apartments, none of them resembling another. Alongside with constructing the palace and adjusting buildings, a wonderful park was created on the surrounding territory. In the year 1751, Queen Maria Theresa honored this palace with her presence.
The King’s palace in Gödöllo has a centuries-long history, full of various events. Due to the fact that the castle was built for several periods (it was finished by the son and the grand-son of Antal Grassalkovich), you can observe various architectural styles in it. They completed construction of the theater, the greenhouse and other buildings. After the death of Antal III, the Grassalkovich dynasty ended. The palace was bought by some baron, and a bit later the heir of this baron sold the palace complex to the Belgium Bank.
However, later the Grassalkovich palace was repurchased by the Hungarian government and in the year 1867 active work on its renovation was started. When all the repair works were finished, the Grassalkovich palace was presented to the royal family. Since those times the palace got its name “the King’s palace”.
As the King’s palace is situated not far from Budapest, Emperor Franz-Iosef I and his wife Empress Elizabeth loved spending time here. Almost every spring and autumn they would spend it this palace which is the season why people started to call Gödöllo “the Hungarian Versailles”.
In 1898 a tragedy happened in the royal family - Empress Elizabeth was killed by a terrorist from Italy. In memory of the Empress, loved by her nation, a monument was installed in the palace park. After that event Emperor Franz-Iosef I rarely visited this residence.
After the Monarchy fell down in 1920-1944, the King’s palace became a summer residence of Hungarian regent Miklos Horthy. During World War II exterior of the palace and park complex wasn’t damaged significantly, on the other hand, interior adornments of rooms and king’s apartments were damaged and devastated by German and Soviet troops.
In 1950 Soviet troops headquartered in a part of the palace, the rest of the building was arranged into a home for elderly people. Influenced by such an exploitation and time, the state quickly came in the critical condition and required immediate capital repair in order not to lose wonderful monument of Baroque architecture.
Reconstruction of the King’s palace in Gödöllo started at the end of 80s of the XX century. These repair works are still in progress. Main buildings of the castle had been restored by the year 2000. A lot of rooms regained their original interiors. Lost majesty was returned to the park surrounding the palace.
Nowadays, the King’s palace hosts a permanent exhibition of paintings, photographs, private possessions of the royal family. Various festivals, concerts, installations, horse racing, festivities to honor the birthday of Empress Elizabeth and many other cultural events are regularly held in the palace.