The Wenckheim Castle renovation has been deemed of national importance and will now come under the National Castle Program. The development will be supported via HUF 1.5 billion of EU funds and HUF 1.5 billion from the Hungarian government, which has made clear that the castle and park in Szabadkígyós is also critical for tourism purposes.
Zsolt Virág, the commissioner responsible for implementing the National Castle and National Fortress Program, has stated that the renovations presently are 40 percent complete, and the reclassification of the project under his program will help further speed up and lessen the required admin surrounding the new investment.
Wenckheim Castle was designed by Miklós Ybl in a Neo-Renaissance style and built between 1875 and 1879. It is one of the most historic monuments in Békés County and will thus also serve as an important tourist stop in the region. Renovations will take place both internally and externally, including the entire ground floor of the castle’s main building, a part of the cellar, the main staircase, the lookout tower and the immediate surroundings of the main building.
Virág noted that although the castle is not currently open to visitors due to the works in progress, the park is open and has a themed playground. The entire park covers almost 57 acres, complete with gardens, a lake, island and bridges.
In the future, visitors will be able to enjoy an interactive family history exhibition, titled “A guest at the Wenckheimers,” depicting the aristocratic lifestyle of the second half of the 19th century. People will be able to take photographs of themselves in costumes with different backdrops from the period, experience a flight above the castle with VR glasses, and view old films about the Count’s family and the castle. There will also be a café and gift shop.
Krisztina Wenckheim, Count Jozséf Wenckheim’s only child and heir, built the castle with her husband, her cousin Count Frederick Wenckheim. She had requested that there be as many windows as there are days in a year, as many rooms as seven, and as many entrances as there are seasons. The castle was considered one of the most modern of its time.
The family’s descendents lived at the estate until 1944. After World War II, the castle served as a technical secondary school for agricultural and food until 2011.