Library of Festetics Palace, Keszthely, Hungary. Image Courtesy of Wolfgang Glock, Wikipedia.
Located in Keszthely, Zala, is Hungary’s sole remaining aristocratic library; collected by the Festetics family for 200 years. The library is known for its two-story, historic, 100,000-volume collection, which was miraculously saved from destruction during the World War II. The collection includes copies of early printed books, unique prints, scientific and art books, together with a music collection of manuscripts by Haydn, Pleyel, and Goldmark. Just as impressive is the golden oak shelving and furniture carved in 1801 by local craftsman János Kerbl.
The Festetics Palace, now the Helikon Castle Museum ranks as Keszthely’ s major attraction. Construction was started at the beginning of the 18th century, by Kristof Festetics, and reached its final neo-baroque form in 1887. With some 111 halls and rooms, this is one of the largest palaces in Hungary.
Kristof Festetics began the construction of the Festetics Palace in 1745. The two-story, U-shaped, 34-room Baroque palace was rebuilt several times in the 18th and 19th centuries. Between 1769 and 1770 Paul Festetics III, Kristof’s son had the building reconstructed. The wings were enlarged while the facades remained unaltered. His son, George Festetics I, started the next major reconstruction in 1792. He had a whole wing built for his library, where the books were kept on neoclassical bookshelves made of Slavonian oak.
George Festetics also expanded the collection with works on Hungarian literature and science, the philosophical literature of the age of Enlightment, the newest works on economy, and a remarkable amount of newspapers and magazines. The books, which were invaluable in themselves, were bound in artistically decorated leather bindings.
Library of Festetics palace, Keszthely
Library of Festetics palace, Keszthely, via Pinterest
Between 1883 and 1887 Tassilo Festetics II had the northern wing demolished and a new wing built, and almost doubled the size of the palace.
Library at Festetics Castle in Hungary via Pinterest