Eszterhazy Castle in Fertod, Western Hungary

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This beautiful castle is located between Gyor and Sopron in the town called Fertod by Lake Ferto near the Austrian border.

The castle was built by the prominent Esterhazy family in between 1720 and 1766. It is called the Hungarian Versailles, for its extravagance and style.

The palace has 126 rooms. The large library holds almost 22,000 volumes and is graced with the letter 'E',standing for the family surname, Eszterházy . The largest room is the grotto-like Sala Terrana which was inspired by the then fashionable Italianate style. On the ceiling are dancing Angels who hold wreaths of flowers in the shape of an 'E'.

From 1766 to 1790, the estate was the home of the celebrated composer Joseph Haydn where he lived in a four-room flat in a large two-storey building housing servants' quarters, separate from the palace. Haydn wrote the majority of his symphonies for the Prince's orchestra. Eszterháza also had two opera houses, the main theatre seating 400 (destroyed by fire in 1779) and a marionette theatre. Haydn conducted his own and others' operas, often with more than a hundred performances per year.

The palace was geographically isolated, a factor which led to loneliness and tedium among the musicians. This is seen in some of Haydn's letters as well as in the famous tale of the Farewell Symphony.

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