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A little piece of England comes alive in Martonvasar, while visiting the English, Neo-Gothic styled Brunszvik Castle and its incredibly beautiful park.
In the fantastic, white walled, Tudor-styled castle and interesting exhibition awaits visitors, the memorial museum of the most famous visitor of the castle, Beethoven. The biggest attraction is without a doubt possibly Hungary’s prettiest castle park.
The history of Brunszvik Castle
Martonvásár and the history of the Brunszvik family is inseparable. Even two-three hundred years ago Martonvásár was an inhabited area, during the Turkish invasion it became unpopulated, after that it came under the control of the Beniczky family, Sándor Beniczky. Antal Brunszvik, an elder from Korompa (Krompachy) received the title Count and the area at Martonvásár from Maria Theresa. After his death in 1783, the area was divided among his children. Through a draw, Alsókorompa (Dolná Krupá) became the youngest boy’s, Joseph’s (who later became Chief Justice), Martonvásár became Antal’s, where his son, Ferenc, later built the Brunszvik Castle.
In 1785, when the estate was still in the possession of the Beneczky family, the part of the castle, that was a one-storey, baroque mansion was built. The construction of the castle happened between 1783 and 1785, and there were 11 rooms on one wing and 6-7 rooms at the other side of the church. Ferenc Brunszvik built a second floor in the 1820s and reconstructed the castle in neoclassical style.
His son, Géza Brunszvik rebuilt the castle in Neo-Gothic style between 1872 and 1875. In 1893 he sold the estate, and for a little while it belonged to Archduke Joseph Karl. He renovated it, then after 4 years sold it to Antal Dreher, a brewer, who owned it until 1945, and made many large changes on the castle. During the 1920s smaller and bigger changes were completed on the building. In 1945, they set up a military hospital in the building, and had no owner.
Since 1953, it’s under the authority of the Academy of Sciences. In 1970, after the damages from the war, they restored it according to the plans of Aurél Budai. A Beethoven Memorial Museum is established in the castle today.
Martonvásár: Beethoven Memorial Museum
Besides the beauty of the area, the great German composer was mainly attracted to Martonvásár due to the female members of the Brunszvik family, especially his friendship with Josephine. The music loving Brunszvik family welcomed the composer as a guest many times at the beginning of the XIX. century, he composed many of his works here, one of which is the Appassionata sonata.
The most interesting attraction at the museum inside the castle is Beethoven’s piano, and his personal letters with the Brunszvik family.
The Brunszvik castle is the centre of the Beethoven appreciation in Hungary. The Beethoven Memorial Museum that functions in the castle is under the authority of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and is maintained by the Research Institute. During the beginning of the 19th century Ludwig von Beethoven, who was friends with the music loving Brunszvik family, visited here many times.
Beethoven taught Antal Brunszvik’s two daughters to play the piano. The great musical genius composed many of his masterpieces – including the Appassionata sonata – to the Brunszvik daughters.
The Brunszvik daughters
Beethoven was in correspondence with the oldest Brunszvik daughter, Theresa. He greatly appreciated her literacy, her soft soul and her devoted work for the community, which resulted in the establishment of the first ever “Angyalkertek” (Angel Gardens) in Hungary, which was shown by him securing it’s financial background.
He respected Theresa as an excellent pianist and as the person, who was among the first to show his work in Hungary. He composed F-sharp major Op. 78 sonata for her.
Josephine and Beethoven
Josephine – the daughter of Antal Brunszvik – was especially close to Beethoven’s heart, who many believe is the “immortal beloved”.
Even from the beginning, Josephine received a special attention from the composer. But the youngest Brunszvik daughter married Joseph Count Deym in 1800. From this point onwards, her life was mostly based in Vienna, and Beethoven was a frequent guest at their salon. Josephine became a widow with four kids in 1804. She only remarried in 1810 to the Estonian Baron Christoph von Stackelberg.
News of their marriage hurt Beethoven emotionally. Josephine’s life was a sad one, although she gave birth to three daughters from this new marriage, her husband left her and at the age of 42 she died from a fever.
The third daughter, Karoline also knew Beethoven, but she got married at a very young age to Count Imre Teleki and spend the rest of her life in Hosszúfalva. Her first-born daughter, Blanka placed her name in the “golden book” of cultural history by founding the first school for girls in Hungary.
After the failed Revolution and War of Independence in 1848-49 the Imperial Court sentenced her for 10 years imprisonment for hiding people and publishing “rebelling papers”. She was taken to the Laibach Castle Prison, from where she got out in 1857 through amnesty, but she didn’t return to Hungary, she died in Paris and that is where she is buried.
The Brunszvik Castle Park
Along with the construction of the castle they began to build the English park. Ferenc Brunszvik made a paradise from the once barren land, which is still one of our prettiest castle parks today.
Among its trees we can find bald cypress, maidenhair tree, maple tree and London plane. Among the linden trees they planted American Catalpa, Balcan Horse Chestnut. Leaving from the center of the park, ash-alder meadows, oak-ash groves and dwarf Russian almonds were planted.
By overflowing the Szent László stream at the centre of the 70 hectares, sloping, beautiful park, they created a small lake, with an island in it, with huge, shading trees and an outdoor stage.
A romantic walkway and a small wooden bridge which takes you to the island, where a huge garden singing contest was created. Next to the stage is a large statue of Beethoven.
The island is cast in shade by the large field maples, black alders and the Europen ash. The here located bald cypress has a trunk diameter of over 4 meters. The park shows a new face every season, the spring – early summer time, flower filled meadows are charming, the overwhelmingly green, summer grass calls you to lounge in the sun, the wild colours of autumn.
During winter it’s worth to visit the arboretum-like, well maintained park to see the frozen water and the magical image of the frosty branches.
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You can park for free at Rákóczi street, located behind Kodály Zoltán street and the COOP supermarket, at the left of the main entrance to the park. If you can’t find a spot here, which can happen on the weekend during nice weather, then go through the main road on the Brunszvik street, and you can find free parking next to the railway station.
Good to know: It’s illegal to stop on the Brunszvik street, parking here is punished!
Opening hours of Martonvásár’s Brunszvik Castle
every day, during summer: 8-18, during winter: 8-16
- 1/05-30/10.: Tue-Fri 10-12, 14-16, Sat-Sun 10-12, 14-18
- 1/11-30/04.: Tue-Sun 10-12, 14-16
Entrance Fees ( in 2019 )
- adult: 750 HUF
- child: 350 HUF
- under 6: free.
- adult: 750 HUF
- child: 350 HUF
- under 6: free.