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Revitalization of Esterházy Manor House Is a New Chapter in Heritage Preservation

Hungary Today 2024.06.09.

For decades, the Esterházy manor house in Balatonfüred (northern shore of Lake Balaton) was an unused, ill-fated building, Magyar Nemzet writes.

The municipality of Balatonfüred acquired it a few years ago through a land exchange and recently handed it over to the new owner, fully restored and complete with a modern visitor center. István Bóka, the town’s mayor for twenty-two years and one of the most successful mayors in the Balaton region, shared his ongoing efforts to renovate additional heritage sites and make the entire shore of Lake Balaton walkable year-round.

The Neo-baroque Esterházy manor house was in a poor state for decades, used briefly by the community before the 1989 regime change but never properly renovated. It later became private property and remained unused,”

said Mr. Bóka about the recently restored mansion.

During the renovation, workers discovered a valuable mural painting from the same period as the manor’s construction, which delayed the handover but added historical significance to the building.

The Esterházy summer manor before renovation. Photo: balatonfured.hu

“We found a hidden treasure in the summer house. There are historical documents behind the walls that are significant to Balatonfüred’s history. The Széchenyi Castle, on the grounds of the Balatonarács Vocational School, likely contains murals of great value, which we aim to preserve,” Bóka added.

Mayor Bóka, who has led the town known for its cultural and social life and healing waters, emphasized the importance of preserving and renewing the past.

He lamented the disrepair of some privately owned heritage properties and hoped they could be integrated into the town’s reformed urban area.

Excerpt of the exhibition. Photo: balatonfured.hu

Regarding the townscape, Mr. Bóka stressed the use of coursed stone instead of concrete paving to reflect the original surface. “We use local limestone or Hungarian marble for our streets. When building new structures next to old ones, we ensure high quality and a human touch. This contributes to Balatonfüred’s uniqueness,” he explained. He also focused on making the entire shore of Lake Balaton accessible.

“We are close to achieving a continuous walkway along the shore, from Vitorlás Square to Csopak. Our beaches will become a park from September, connecting Esterházy Beach to the renovated Golden Bridge beach,” he said. “Visitors will be able to walk along the entire waterfront from September to May. On the western part, the camping area will offer year-round access to the harbor from the main entrance promenade,” the Mayor added.

The renovated café area. Photo: balatonfured.hu

He also mentioned plans to make the adjacent 200-meter-long Balaton shore accessible year-round via a 30-meter walkway in the “Federal Colony” (Szövetségi Telep) area.

To maintain the town’s image, Bóka emphasized the prohibition of giant billboards, preferring uniform street furniture and shading over terraces. “We allow advertising, but we want a consistent streetscape. Doors and windows should not be used as advertising surfaces,” he explained.

Reflecting on his tenure, Mayor Bóka highlighted the synergy between Balatonfüred and the surrounding municipalities. “Improving public transport links is crucial for tourism, which often involves late working hours. We need better access for those working in the area,” he concluded.


The Esterházy manor, built in 1781-82 by Count Kázmér Esterházy and expanded in subsequent years, has undergone a monumental renovation. Now, the 242-year-old castle is a tourist attraction, housing a holiday history exhibition, temporary exhibition space, cultural events space, museum education room, gift shop, and café.

The Day of National Unity Commemorated with the Reopening of a Historic Building
The Day of National Unity Commemorated with the Reopening of a Historic Building

The restoration of Tisza Castle has been underway since 2016.Continue reading

Via Magyar Nemzet; Featured Image: balatonfured.hu

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