GÖDÖLLŐ PALACE, PILGRIMAGE
|Gödöllő and horse show|
Are you curious about the second largest Baroque castle in the world? Would you like to visit a mysterious place of pilgrimage? Do you want to see exciting equestrian stunts? You can find all of the above in Gödöllő and its surroundings, not far from Budapest!
Come and visit our sites:
Gödöllő is famous for its Royal Palace, the second biggest surfaced palace after Versailles. Antal Grassalkovich, one of the most respectable noblemen during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, built the castle in the mid-18th century. He, as the confidential agent of Empress Maria Theresa, hosted her in the palace in 1751. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the baroque palace became the favorite summer residence of the royals. Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Elisabeth spent a lot of time here. Empress Elizabeth (nicknamed Sissi) especially enjoyed spending time here, as she was happy to be in the company of Hungarians.
The Royal Palace was beautifully restored to give its original splendor back. The baroque palace with its glamorous white and gold Grand Hall, richly painted rooms, red marble bath and conservatory, huge riding school, baroque theatre and large park represent the wealthy lifestyle of the nobility during Austro-Hungarian Empire. The 860 acres of the botanical garden is the home to 147 conifer and gymnosperms species and 875 types of leafy trees and bushes. While walking in the Gödöllő Botanical Garden, established in 1902 or enjoying refreshments at the cafe, you will definitely feel like a king or a queen.
Nearby, you can find Máriabesnyő, one of Hungary’s most famous pilgrimage places. In 1758 János Fidler, a mason from Gödöllő, had a dream about a small bone statuette under the ruins of the church, which he eventually found. The statue probably dates back to the 12th century and it portrays the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus in her arms. It is 11cm tall, 4cm wide and due to its measurements, it is the smallest Virgin Mary statue in the country. The miraculously found bone statue is placed in the high altar of the Nagyboldogasszony Basilica Minor. The two-storied baroque temple with the two altars and the Virgin Mary Statue is a unique site and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.
If you want to experience the real Hungarian hospitality, visit the Lázár Equestrian Park in the picturesque Domonyvölgy, only half an hour from Budapest. The Park is owned by Vilmos and Zoltán Lázár, 16 time Carriage Driving World Champions. You can learn about equestrian traditions when different horse shows of carriage driving, horseback archery, acrobatics of horse herders and hussars take place. Visitors say that “puszta-ötös” is the most fantastic horse program, which is when a rider stands on the back of two horses while being pulled by another three. After seeing native Hungarian grey cattle, racka sheep, mangalica pigs and puli dogs, you can taste traditional home-style Hungarian dishes.