History of Keszthely

We, citizens of Keszthely, are proud that alongside Balaton our settlement is the only one that has real town history. That is why we consider Keszthely the capital of Balaton and we do our best to live up to this status. Our territory is continuously inhabited since seven thousand years, but the written sources concerning its history are only known since 1247. These denote that Keszthely has survived several crises, difficult periods during the past 8 centuries. We only mention from these the one and a half century long Turkish era, the epidemics and fires of the 18th century, the economic crisis of 1850-1860, the 1930s and following the 2nd World War.

Thanks to the hard-working and inventive citizens of Keszthely, the town was always able to renew, dared to chose other direction for development. This way Keszthely continuously expanded, blossomed with smaller interruptions. The outward appearance of the town, which is the result of an integral development of several centuries, is the visible sign of this. Most of the buildings are from the 19th-20th centuries, but the earliest ones were built in the 13th-14th centuries.
The Festetics Castle is the fourth biggest aristocratic mansion in the country, and also it is the most beautifully renovated. The building in of the 19th century that evokes the atmosphere of the monarchy is unique on the shore of Balaton. The remembrance of almost all architectural styles can be found in Keszthely.

Keszthely enriched a lot not only financially but also culturally during the past centuries. We proudly cultivate the almost two centuries old tradition of the Helikon Festivals, we are proud that Keszthely is a school town and is in possession of higher educational institution since 1797. The first theatre was built already in 1862 and the programs and events of the Balaton Theatre and Congress Centre, inaugurated in 2002, serve not only the entertainment of the local people, but also that of people from the neighbourhood and visitors.

Keszthely lives on tourism first of all and the basis of it is the Balaton, which is not only beautiful in the summer but in all seasons. The greatest painter of the lake, Egry József said: “Balaton is the tear of joy of nature”, and we can only agree with him.

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