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Queen Elizabeth and Gödöllő

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Királyi Kastély

Queen Elizabeth and Gödöllő

Queen Elizabeth and Gödöllő


 
The first time that Elizabeth visited the Gödöllő palace, which was offered as Coronation gift to Elizabeth and Francis Joseph I, was on 11 May 1867. Francis Joseph I was obliged by his coronation oath, taken in 1867, to spend regular periods of time in Hungary. To this end, the Hungarian government wished to please the royal couple by placing at their disposal not only the Castle in Buda as political headquarters, but also residences in the countryside suitable for relaxation. Of these, however, only the plan for Gödöllő came to fruition.
Count Antal Grassalkovich I (1694–1771), one of the most notable aristocrats of the 18th century, began construction of the largest Baroque palace in Hungary around 1735. After his family died out it had several owners before being bought by the Hungarian government in 1867. Following a quick reconstruction the Palace and the park were placed at the disposal of Francis Joseph and Elisabeth as a coronation gift.
The Palace had 136 rooms altogether, of which 103 were living rooms, 67 of these being for the staff. Royal suites were established in the main building, to the north and south of the ceremonial hall. Comfort rather than grandeur was the main aim. The walls of the king’s apartment were covered with yellow panelling and grey silk wallpaper. The queen’s suite was characterised by her favourite colour, violet. Both were later changed to white, red and gold. Elisabeth’s suite consisted of a salon and writing-, bed-, dressing-, and reading rooms. A spiral staircase led from the upper floor to the three-room suite on the ground floor. Next to Elisabeth’s rooms was the suite of her reader Ida Ferenczy, followed by the rooms of the royal children.
The Baroque theatre fell victim to alterations made in the royal period. It was replaced by 15 rooms. (For example, Rudolph’s rooms were brought here when Marie Valerie was born.) A building for the major-domo was erected in the south section and the coach-house was extended by further stables. The Palace was surrounded by an English landscape garden, with two swan-ponds in front of the main facade.
 
The first time the royal family visited the Palace was in the autumn of 1867. From this time on they would spend several months a year here, mainly in the spring and autumn. Gödöllő soon became a favourite spot for Elisabeth where she found refuge from the protocol in Vienna. ‘Here you can get a bit of peace, no relatives, no-one bothering you, whilst there, in Vienna, there’s the whole imperial crowd! There’s nothing to annoy or constrain me here, I can live like in a village, and I can walk or ride out on my own!’  - as Elisabeth wrote to her mother from Gödöllő.
It was, in fact, the perfect spot for all her favourite pastimes. If she sought solitude no-one disturbed her: she could read, learn languages, write or walk as she liked. As Ferenc Ripka, the royal monographer of the time put it: ‘When the locals, who adored Queen Elisabeth, caught sight of her elegant figure dressed in black, they would respectfully keep out of her way, because they knew that Her Majesty does not like impertinent curiosity.’ If she desired company, grandiose horse races, hunts, greyhound races or pigeon-shooting were arranged for her. The Hungarian equestrian elite, Count Gyula Andrássy among them, frequently paid visits here. The King did not spend much time on fun or relaxation. He was extraordinarily hard-working and his sense of duty made him work from early morning till night with short breaks for walks or meals. He also took part in hunts, mainly for shooting big game. His suite and the staircase at Gödöllő were adorned by his trophies.
The queen had always been attracted to unusual, unconventional things. She loved Gipsy music, even hosting full Gipsy bands in the Palace on a number of occasions. Much excitement and bewilderment was caused by another of her ideas: Marie Valerie had a crippled Saracen boy as a playmate. Rustimo was a gift from the Shah of Persia.
In Gödöllő, everyday life and holidays were much more casual and relaxed than in Vienna. In the autumn season, the locals celebrated the queen’s nameday (19 November) with a serenade and a torch-lit procession. Christmases were very intimate, as mentioned by Marie Valerie’s tutor, Jácint Rónay in his memoirs: ‘In the evenings they played blind man’s buff at the desire of Marie Valerie, then they got busy again, colouring and cutting out figures for the picture book the kind-hearted princess wanted to give to the little patients in the children’s hospital.’ Holidays always presented an opportunity for exercising charity. The family frequently stayed on in Gödöllő till the New Year. Another note by Rónay from 1881: ‘On New Year’s Eve, the Christmas tree was once again dressed in festive splendour. In a corner of the upper garden an artificial skating rink was set up, where the princess and her close friend, Duchess Aglája Auersperg would skate happily all day long.’
The Queen spent a total of 2663 days (7.3 years!) in Hungary, of which 2000 were spent in Buda and Gödöllő. Her last visit was from the 2nd till the 24th of October 1897. Following her death in 1898, the king visited Gödöllő much less frequently. To commemorate their beloved Queen, Hungarians have erected more than 40 monuments and established 100 memorial gardens and groves in the country. The first of these parks was the one in Gödöllő, dedicated in 1901 with a full-length statue of the queen. The town is still the number one centre of the cult of Queen Elisabeth.

 

Ildikó Faludi
 

Actual

News and informations

Story cube – a new educational tool

Story cube – a new educational tool

Together with the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów and the Italian non-governmental organisation Stazione Utopia, we exchange knowledge and experiences as well as train and teach how to encourage local communities gathered around museums to engage in voluntary work and how to talk about cultural, natural and historical heritage in an interesting manner. Together with our colleagues from Hungary and Italy, we have created a publicly available educational tool – the story cube that supports volunteers and educators in learning how to build a unique story, organise arguments, build independent judgments about the object or phenomenon in question, while incorporating their own stories and experiences. Activities implemented as part of the project: International Learning, Teaching, Training (LTT) meetings, during which a group of experts from Wilanów, Gödöllő and Florence selected in the programme exchanges good practice and then trains one another in areas such as working with volunteers and immigrants as well as creating an engaged community around institutions. Four meetings: two in Warsaw and two in Florence and Gödöllő, respectively, have been held during the course of the project. Transnational Project Meetings (TPMs) in each of the participating organisations help us implement our planned activities effectively. Developing an educational tool, known as the story cube. The tool supports the adult education personnel in contacting the local community and engaging it in activities related to the voluntary programme. An online seminar to discuss the experiences we have gained and disseminate the educational tool we have developed is to be held in January 2023. Writing a series of articles on informal adult education and engaging the local community in the activities of institutions. Feel free to check out the materials on the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe (EPALE): Local community engagement in museum programs: practices, experiences and challenges and Też tak chcę! Story cube – a new educational tool   As part of the Erasmus+ project, “Museum of Communities”, along with our partners from the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów and the non-governmental organisation Stazione Utopia in Florence, we have created a new publicly available educational tool.The story cube supports our work with volunteers in terms of creating engaging and unique stories about museum items. We have designed not one but two cubes: senses cube, to support the process of experiencing objects through our senses; mind cube, to encourage users to think and reflect critically. Story cubes allow the users to ask questions about heritage objects and look at them in a new manner, inspiring them to learn collectively and have a discussion. The tool may be used with both beginners and advanced storytellers. Story cubes are a universal solution to be used in adult education. The project has been co-financed by the European Commission from the Erasmus+ programme supporting strategic partnerships at a European level. Projects related to education and training promote the development of knowledge in Europe and make it possible to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy – sustainable development and social inclusion. Download the detailed instructions and a graphic template for the story cubes: Erasmus+ Storycube black and white Erasmus+ Storycube color Erasmus+ Mindcube black and white Erasmus+ Mindcube color Instructions
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Museum maintenance

Museum maintenance

Due to the completion of annual maintenance tasks, certain parts of the exhibition space cannot be visited from 15 January.   February 12 – February 23 Franz Joseph-wing is not open to visitors   During this period, we provide discounted admission to the permanent exhibition. Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for maintenance-related information.   Thank you for your understanding!
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NEW MEMBER OF THE VIA HABSBURG: THE ROYAL PALACE OF GÖDÖLLŐ

NEW MEMBER OF THE VIA HABSBURG: THE ROYAL PALACE OF GÖDÖLLŐ

The Via Habsburg, a Cultural Route certified by the Council of Europe, now has a Hungarian location.  As the initiation ceremony of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő, one of the most beautiful baroque buildings of Hungary, took place on 13 October 2023. Besides Hofrat Mag. Reinhold Sahl, president of the Via Habsburg Association, dr. Tamás Ujvári managing director of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő, and dr. György Gémesi, the mayor of Gödöllő, the partner institutions also attended the event. Thus, the National Heritage Institute, the Castle Headquarters and the Otto von Habsburg Foundation were also represented. There might not be other palace or historical building in Hungary that the public associates with the Habsburgs as much as the Royal Palace of Gödöllő, and there are several reasons for this: A Hungarian nobleman Antal Grassalkovich, an important ally of Maria Theresa, had the grand palace built in the mid-18th century.  Their relationship was not only a political relationship but also a mutual deep sympathy that later turned into a friendship. Therefore, the Queen of Hungary paid a visit to the palace in 1751, which was her easternmost visit. This close cooperation was profitable not only for the palace but for the town as well. It was a prospering period both architecturally and economically; the impact of that period can still be seen today. Besides Maria Theresa, there is one more well-known female member of the Habsburg family who is closely tied to the palace: As Empress Elisabeth, ”Sisi”, and Emperor Franz Joseph got the palace and the park as a coronation gift from the State of Hungary after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867.  Thus, the Empress spent over 2000 days in Gödöllő throughout her life, mainly in the spring and autumn. The residence of the imperial couple was preceded by extensive renovation and redecoration. Additionally, an important innovation, a railway line was built close to the palace. The construction was done at the highest standards of the time, thus the place became internationally well-known in a short time and gained great prestige. The president of the Via Habsburg, Mag. Reinhold Sahl, and the managing director of the Palace, dr. Tamás Ujvári, both emphasized in their speeches the importance of cooperation and regular consultations and the significance of friendship which is also part of the history of the Palace.   „States, cities, region have their particular characteristics. These characteristics, however, do not separate us from each other. The mission of the Cultural Route is to highlight our similarities. The common historical traits connect us and make us friends.” (Hofrat Mag. Sahl, president of the Via Habsburg) Dr. György Gémesi, the mayor of the town, also spoke about the advantages of being part of this project: „Joining a European environment, either through twin towns such as Bad Ischl, Laxenburg, Aichach, Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav or through the Via Habsburg Cultural Route and its network, means that the connections of the town are getting stronger in Central-Europe. These connections are rooted in history, which should work in 2023 and they do work excellently.”   You can read the Via Habsburg’s newsletter HERE
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News release: Highlights of the Schönbrunn Collection

News release: Highlights of the Schönbrunn Collection

Elisabeth Wittelsbach was undoubtedly one of the most interesting European historical figures of the 19th century, whose worldwide popularity has been growing steadily since. Therefore, the upcoming exhibition at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő is dedicated to Queen Elisabeth, displaying unique personal belongings of the Queen and her immediate family members. On 18 July in Vienna, dr Tamás Ujváry, managing director of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő and Mag. Klaus Panholzer, managing director of Schönbrunn Group signed the contract that officially gave the green light to the Sisi on Tour exhibition. For the very first time, a selection of the most fascinating and Sisi-related items of the incredible collection of Schönbrunn will be shown outside of Vienna, and the first stop is Gödöllő. The exhibition, which will open on 8 September, is the result of years of outstanding collaborative work of the two Palaces. The two most important Sisi cult places – both members of the European Royal Residences Association – can respectfully commemorate the 125th anniversary of Queen Elisabeth’s death with a joint seasonal exhibition. What makes this exhibition exceptional is that the Royal Palace of Gödöllő has never housed an exhibition owned and arranged by a foreign museum. Furthermore, the art objects arriving at the tourist centre are not only special but hold an immense value. Thanks to the cooperation of the cult places, visitors can learn about the personality and myths of the Queen as never before. After the successful opening of the Sisi Museum at the Hofburg in Vienna in 2004, the collection strategy of the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (Schönbrunn Group for short) shifted the focus onto the expansion of the “Empress Elisabeth” collection. Today, the ever-growing assemblage consists of more than 1000 pieces, thus making it the biggest “Sisi-collection” in the world. The Viennese experts have arranged a travelling exhibition showcasing the most intriguing pieces that will debut at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő. The exhibition will display more than 200 art pieces of this collection. The exhibition will show, for instance, the little silk gown and bonnet that Elisabeth wore at her christening. This cream-coloured, frilly dress is decorated with lace and floral embroidery. Visitors can also view a small, gilded container that is decorated with the imperial motto and the Holy Crown of Hungary. The item also contains soil from the ‘coronation hill’ of 8 June 1867. A small locket in which the photographs of Gisela and Rudolf lay was also made of gold. According to the engraving (“Mama 24. Dez. 1885”), the jewellery was given for the Queen’s birthday/Christmas by her children. As Queen Elisabeth was becoming more and more reclusive and tended to withdraw from the public eye, she started to wear lace veil and held a fan or an umbrella to hide her face from the prying eyes of onlookers and photographers. Hence, a special accessory, a black, lace-decorated, silk parasol that can be folded down to a length of 25 cm, will be shown as well. A painting by Lipót Horovitz will be on display in the last room of the exhibition. After the death of the Queen, he was commission by Franz Joseph to paint the portrait. The Queen is standing in front of a neutral background, she is wearing a black day dress, holding a fan in the painting. Besides the portraits of the members of the imperial house, documents (e.g.: the beauty regimens of the Queen), porcelain (e.g.: a porcelain set from Achilleion Palace, Corfu), textiles (e.g.: the gymnastic trousers of the Queen, the hunting vest of Crown Prince Rudolf), engravings and etchings can also be seen. The seasonal exhibition will be open between 8 September 2023 and 28 January 2024. The curator is Michael Wohlfart, Queen Elisabeth expert of the Sisi Museum, Vienna.
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The queen's furniture has returned home!

The queen's furniture has returned home!

The queen's furniture has returned home! Queen Elizabeth's personal furniture, dressing table and glass showcase arrived at the Royal Castle in Gödöllő   Dr. Tamás Ujváry, the managing director of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő Public Benefit Nonprofit Ltd., reminded that the castle operates as a real Sisi cult place. The building also celebrates its anniversary, as it was abandoned by the Soviet army thirty years ago and then opened in 1996, albeit only in part, to visitors in 1996. The anniversary is also connected with the arrival of the two special pieces of furniture, which were successfully repurchased with the help of the National Castle Program and the NÖF, said Dr. Tamás Ujváry. Speaking about the National Castle Program and the National Castle Program, which he supervised as a ministerial commissioner, Zsolt Virág said that they are aimed not only at the restoration of the buildings, but also at their mental rehabilitation. This includes returning any former furnishings to the walls, he noted. According to him, Queen Elizabeth's former dressing table and glazed display case appeared at an auction in Germany, where they were bought back at a starting price, and from Friday the public can meet the artefacts in the castle's permanent exhibition in the queen's dressing room.  
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Monday-Sunday 10:00-17:00   Ticket office closes at 16:00



 


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