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