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Almásy Castle to undergo extensive renovations

The castle’s “facelift” will involve the reconstruction of an entire wing for HUF 1 billion and the rebuilding of the Gyula Castle Spa for HUF 2.5 billion

The newly renovated Almásy Castle will host a rich and varied roster of cultural and literary events, alongside plays and community activities. 

The wing to be reconstructed was originally built using Antal Cziegler’s 1807 plans. As Zsolt Virág, the Minister responsible for the implementation of the National Castle Program, said, the new building will be used to host any and all sorts of social events and programs, ranging from balls, private dinners, and concerts to conferences, themed tastings, and gastronomic events.

The “exhibit of old flavors” will chronicle the emergence and disappearance of the dominant cooking trends of the 19th and 20th centuries and will feature both Hungarian and international chefs showcasing their finest skills and offering up some introductory cooking lessons. An outdoor area planted with lavender will also function as a garden to explore the most-valued herbs found in the Hungarian countryside. 

He added that the interactive elements used in the renovation of the main wing of the castle, which served as a model for many other reconstructions, would be used in the wing now under reconstruction as well. 

After its main renovation in 2016, the Almásy Castle became the thirdmost visited monumental exhibition place, after the Festetics Castle and the Gödöllő Grassalkovich Palace. If this project is completed, plans are to increase visiting time in the castle to accommodate additional tourists.

The Hungarian Tourism Agency also allocated HUF 2.5 billion worth of funds for the renovation of the Gyula Castle Spa located next to the castle.

As Zoltán Guller, CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, revealed, the renovation will encompass the spa’s three outdoor pools and a so-called half-timbered building. According to the plans, they will also extend the existing children’s pool area and thermal pool. The project should be completed by the end of 2021.

Gyula is one of the ten most visited cities in Hungary, and room occupancy in the city is higher than the Hungarian average. Guller expressed hope that with this new project, the spa town of Békés County can advance one or two places on Hungary’s TOP10 list.

“The Hungarian tourism industry experienced more robust growth than any other European Union member state, while also exceeding the world average. There are currently about a thousand tourism developments in the country, the highest number ever achieved,” Guller said. 

Tourism accounts for 11 percent of Hungary’s GDP. The sector has grown by 10 percent annually and is expected to continue strong this year. It currently employs 400,000 people.

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