Welcome to Hungary!
When you first arrive in Gödöllő, there will be a few things that everyone will tell you about the town. Most of them will probably have to do with the royal Habsburg family, since one of their most popular couples – Queen Sisi and King Franz Josef – have used the Grassalkovich Palace as summer residence.
In fact the town dates back to the Middle Ages when there was a village in the area of Gödöllő, but it was wiped out completely during the time of Tatar invasions (1241-42). In 1349 king Lajos the Great gave the lands of Gödöllő to his loyal friend Péter Pohárnok. In the next couple of hundred years new landowners came and went, like the Vámossy or Hamvay family. In 1692 there has been only 26 families living and farming here.
The turning point in our town’s life came in the 1700s. It was then that a Hungarian Count Antal Grassalkovich became the owner of the lands, moved to Gödöllő and built the palace (1744-51) for which the town is now famous throughout Europe.
The royal Palace of Gödöllő was expanded over the years, and finally became the summer residence of one of the most beloved Habsburg queens, Elizabeth, or “Sisi”. After her untimely death at the hands of an assassin in 1898, the palace was used as a part-time residence by many, including Miklós Horthy, the Governor of Hungary before and during the Second World War. After the war, the palace was used as a barracks for Soviet soldiers, then as a residence for the elderly. Since then, parts of it have been renovated (and still under constant construction and renovation), and it now worth taking in as a tourist attraction.
Gödöllő itself, although home to a royal palace, is a quickly expanding suburb of Budapest. It attracts a great many young professional families because of its clean air and friendly atmosphere, as well as a good deal of high-tech industry, including United Technologies, Avon, Caterpillar and Teva Pharmaceuticals among others. While the industries are attracted by the excellent transportation (connection by freeways to the capital, to the airport and to all main highways), people are attracted to the area because there are many woodlands in the surrounding area. Indeed, it has one of the highest ratios of wooded to developed land in all of Hungary.
One of the other major attractions of the town is the university itself. Its main building is one of the most beautiful higher education edifices in the entire country. The university is also one of the largest employers in Pest County, with over 2,000 persons currently working there. In short, Gödöllő has all the amenities any prosperous town boasts. We believe it is a good place to live, work and study, and we hope you will agree.
World Heritage Sites
Budapest (the capital)
Danube Bank View, Buda Castle District and Andrássy Avenue
This encompasses the area on the Buda side which stretches from the Buda abutment of Petőfi Bridge across Gellért Hill and Tabán up to Castle Hill (Várhegy) and the Water town (Víziváros), and on the Pest side, from the Pest abutment of Margaret Bridge to Petőfi Bridge. Andrássy Avenue was added to the list as it presents a uniform architectural image of Budapest, connecting Elizabeth Square, in the capital's innermost area, with Heroes' Square.
The old village of Hollókő and its surroundings
The old part of Hollókő village, a settlement nestling in the Cserhát Hills, has preserved its distinctive traditions to this day. Hollókő was the first village to be declared a World Heritage Site. The history of the village goes back to the 13th century, when after the Mongol invasion the castle was built on Szár Hill. The name (holló=raven, kő=stone) perhaps, comes from the legend in which the lord of a castle kidnapped a pretty maiden, whose nurse was a witch and closed her into a room of the castle. The nurse made a pact with the devil to rescue the girl: the devil's minions, disguised as ravens, took the stones of the castle away. The village is not just an open-air museum that exhibits folk traditions, but also a living village where traditions and everyday life go hand in hand. www.hollokotourism.hu
Aggtelek National Park
This area which stretches across the border is extremely rich in caves. There is a spectacular, 22 kilometre long system of caves in the region. Dazzling rock and crystal formations with names that include Dragon's Head, Tiger, Mother in Law's Tongue and the Hall of Giants - as well as dozens of underground lakes and winding passages - can be explored as part of a number of guided tours.
The Benedictine Arch abbey of Pannonhalma and its natural surroundings
The Arch abbey is one of the oldest historical monuments in Hungary. The first Benedictine monks settled here in 996. Its 1000-year history can be seen in the succession of architectural styles of the monastic buildings (the oldest dating from 1224), which even today house a school and the monastic community.
Hortobágy National Park
It became a national park in 1973, making it the first of the kind in Hungary. Its area is over 800 km2. Hortobágy is similar to a steppe, a grassy plain with cattle, sheep, oxen, and horses, tended by herdsmen, and it provides habitat for various different species (342 bird species have been registered to appear). Its emblematic sight is the Nine-holed Bridge; besides, this is the place for traditional sweep-wells. Hortobágy is Hungary's largest protected area and the largest natural grassland in Europe.
Early Christian Necropolis in Pécs
In the centre of the town of Pécs, beneath Cathedral Square (Dóm tér) and St Stephan's Square (Szent István tér) there is a Christian cemetery from the 4th-6th century. Research and excavations thus far have uncovered various burial constructions and over a hundred burial sites around a tomb chapel, a cemetery building and a mausoleum. The first painted crypts were discovered in 1780. They are ornamented with Biblical scenes, images of the apostles Peter and Paul, and floral and animal motifs. Parts of the heritage complex are open to the public.
Cultural landscape of Lake Fertő
Lake Fertő is the second largest lake in Central Europe, located in the Austrian-Hungarian border. The lake covers 315 km2, of which 240 km2 is on the Austrian side and 75 km2 on the Hungarian side. The special habitats and the rural architecture surrounding Lake Fertő on both the Hungarian and the Austrian sides form the Heritage Site. The territory which remains of the originally enormous area of marsh and wetland has preserved a unique flora and fauna, as well as an invaluable array of landscape, ethnographic and cultural historic assets.
Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region
Tokaj-Hegyalja is a historic wine region located in Northeastern Hungary. The region consists of 28 villages and 7 000 hectares of classified vineyards. The home of the world famous wine Tokaji Aszú that the French king, Louis XIV called the 'king of wines and the wine of kings'.
SURVIVAL GUIDE compiled by ESN MATE.