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Festetics Palace, Keszthely west of Lake Balaton

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Festetics Palace is a beautiful Baroque palace in a stunning little town called Keszthely, west of Lake Balaton. This is the biggest baroque castle in Hungary and the pride of the Hungarians. The beautiful castle park can be entered through an ornate wrought iron gate. Its construction, started by Kristóf  Festetics in 1745, lasted more than a century, during which the palace, built at first on the foundations of a ruined castle. It was then tripled in size, in two subsequent building campaigns, most recently in the 1880s, to designs by Viktor Rumpelmayer, living in Vienna. The result is one of the three largest country houses in Hungary.

The great book collection that remained in the castle is the only extensive aristocratic library that survived in Hungary.

Unlike the surrounding area, the palace was not damaged during World War II. It has three permanent exhibitions: The Helikon Castle Museum showcasing 18 rooms with genuine interior from  the 18-19 century, since 1974; it is visited by 200,000 people each year. The second exhibition is the hunting museaum with 200 species of game trophies and the carriage exhibition showing the aristocratic lifestyle of the 18-19 century.

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