The newly inaugurated Esterházy Palace in Tata is inviting visitors to go on a journey into the history of the palace and the Hungarian royal family. It is possible to see within the authentically furnished rooms where members of the family had once conducted their everyday activities, and hosted events of great significance.
The previous owners of the palace, the Esterházy family, were a prominent Hungarian noble family who became perhaps the most significant landowners of the Habsburg-ruled Kingdom of Hungary in the 17th century. Members of the family often worked as diplomats, and by remaining loyal to the Habsburg Emperor, they received titles of counts and princes. While their most important seat was in Eisenstadt (today’s Austria), they possessed a number of residences across the Kingdom of Hungary, including their most notable palace in Fertőd, and a smaller, but nevertheless significant home in Tata.
The historical significance of the palace arises from a number of reasons. In addition to functioning as a home of one of the Esterházy family, the palace housed events of national and international importance, welcoming rulers such as Emperor and King Francis I, Franz Joseph I, and German Emperor Wilhelm II on its premises. Moreover, war councils led by commanders-in-chiefs such as Artúr Görgei, general of the army of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-1849, also took place among its walls.
The main exhibition in the palace, called ‘The Island of Peace,” provides an insight into the history, everyday life, and international role of the Esterházy family. The chapel has also been renovated, together with its original altar, more than 200 years old. In addition to the permanent collection, there is a temporary exhibition called ‘Old Pictures – New Perspectives,’ which shows archive photos of the palace.
Baroque desk with the coat of arms of the Esterházy and Lobkowitz families, exhibited in the Esterházy Castle in Tata. Photo: Tamás Vasvári/MTI
The exhibition was designed with children in mind, therefore there is a variety of interactive tools which render the exhibition more engaging for little ones. Toys in the playrooms and dollhouse models are likely to catch children’s attention, while child-friendly content is displayed on exhibition panels at children’s eye level. Worksheets for children are available free of charge, and family activity books can be purchased in the gift shop.
The palace offers guided tours both to individual visitors and groups, however, guided tours in a foreign language have to be requested in advance. The visual guide application and tablet guide are also designated to enhance visitors’ experience.
Temporary exhibition showing archive photos of the palace. Photo: Tamás Vasvári/MTI
The Esterházy Palace in Tata is also part of the ‘Kastélykártya’ (‘Castle Card’) program. The card can be requested at any of the participating locations free of charge, and provides access to a variety of discounts at certain castles and palaces in Hungary. Currently, the following places are part of the project: L’Huillier-Coburg Palace in Edelény, Majk Abbey, Castle Popo in Ozora, Palace Ráday in Pécel, Castle of Sirok, and Saint Ladislas (Szent László) Memorial Site in Somogyvár.
Featured photo by Tamás Vasvári/MTI