Várgesztes is approximetly 70 kilometers from Budapest.
Castle of Várgesztes was first mentioned in written sources in 1332, among its 14th century names was Geztes, Keztus, Gestus, Kerthes, Gertus, Gerdhes.
Building of the villlage together with the castle above it was started by the Csák Clan. According to the contemporary sources the castle was already standing in the time of King Zsigmond. The Turks invaded the castle several times but could only defeat it in 1541. Not only the castle but also the village got demolished.
In 1693 Count Ferenc Esterházy obtains the castle along with its surrounding estate.
Around 1730 Count József Esterházy inhabited the village with Danube-side Catholic Germans. At that time the village was called „Pusztagesztes”, „vár” was only added to„Gesztes” (Várgesztes) in 1917.
Sights: in the cemter of the village we can find a Roman Catholic church-its church–bell was renovated with the contribution of the Villapark. A new Village Hall stands near the church, which has a sports hall, conference rooms, a school and a nursery inside. Population of Várgesztes is about 550,- mainly German nationality inhabitatants who like to keep their traditions. Signs show the way to the Castle which is now operates as a view tower and a guest house.
During the time of the Árpád Dynasty Tata had been a royal estate. Settlement’s name was first mentoned as „Tata” in 1221. From the 13 th century to 1326 it belonged to the castler builder family Csák. From 1410 Castle of Tata is a favored place of King Zsigmond (1387-1437). Castle’s slow decay was stopped by King Mátyás (1458-1490) who had later turned it into a late Gothic style residency. From 1472 Mátyás came here for hunting once every year. In 1510, due to the plague under the kingdom of II. Ulászló parliaments were held in Tata, on the square (Parliament square now) in front of the Franciscan Monastery.
Town Tata was occupied by the Turks in 1543. Reconstruction of the Castle (and the towers seen today) was carried out based on the plans of Orbán Süess between 1568-1577. In 1727 Tata and the surounding villages were bought by Count József Esterházy (owner of the village and castle of Gesztes). Work of famous architects -Jakab Fellner, József Éder, József Grossmann, Antal Schweiger- he had invited to the town is still preserved on Tata’s buildings.
After the 1809 defeat by the French at Győr, Hungarian king I. Ferenc (1792-1835) moved with his court to Tata and spent 2 months in the earl’s castle, where on 14th October 1809 Peace of Schönbrunn was signed by him.
In the past few decades Tata, the „town of waters” has become well-known not only for its waters, English garden, shady parks, reconstructed buildings, tidy roads and olimpic Training Camp, but also for its museums and traditional yearly festivals (Water, music, flower Festival, Tata get-together, Baroque Festival, Outdoor Theatre, Fall fishing festival).
Sights: Tata’s symbol, the Castle stands on the bank of the Old lake, together with the Esterházy mansion and the former Piarist monastery and grammar school. From the buildings of the Kossuth square arises the monumental Roman Catholic parish church built upon the plans of Jakab Fellner. Parliament square has a Belfry and a Capuchin church. At Cseke-lake we find the English garden with botanical oddities, the Eszterházy garden house and artificial ruins- out of which the most valuable ones are the ruins of the Vértesszentkereszt church and the renewed Palmhouse. Both lakes have several pleasant cafés and restaurants open for guests each day of the week.
Tatabánya lies at the foot of the a Kő-mountain, in a valley embraced by mountains Gerecse and Vértes. Number of inhabitants is 75 thousand. City of Tatabánya was established on 10th October 1947 by uniting Alsógalla, Felsőgalla, Bánhida and Tatabánya (village).
Due to its favourable location this area has been inhabited since the paleolithic times. Untill the System Change Tatabánya used to be a typical mining/ industrial town, since then new forms of industry have developed. Tatabánya is one of country’s more dinamically developing cities. City’s symbol the Turul –bird is there to remind us of the legend about how Árpád’s conquering army defeated Szvatopluk Moravian king on the Bánhida plains. Selim cave can be found approx. 200 meters from the monument. It got its name after Sultan Selim who-according to the legend-killed here the people of 7 villages with the smoke of the fire he made at the entrance of the cave. Archeology couldn’t prove any of this, neverthless they did explore remainings of prehistoric fireplace, charred pieces of wood and animal bones.
Sights: Turul-bird (Europe’s biggest bronze bird monument) on top of the Stone-mountain, cave Selim, János-well. At No. 1 Vágóhíd street Hungary’s first open-air Miners Museum can be visited.
Komárom is a half-hour drive from Várgesztes. Town was first mentioned in a document in 1037 by the name of Camarin. Komárom’s most significant tourist attraction is the fortress built between 1809-1877. Its main section is the Monostor-fort in the Western part of the town. Interesting thing about it is that it cannot be seen from the outside at all. At the horseshoe shaped gunner’s bastion plays are performed nowadays. Fortress provides room for an exhibition called „castles, forts, soldiers- Komárom’s martial life from the 15th century untill 1991”. Komárom’s oldest fort is Fort-Csillag. They built wide drains around it. Igmánd-fort, protecting the town from South is smaller than the others, from 1966 a Roman Lapidarium can be seen in the György Klapka Museum operating here. History, World War I in particular, had interrupted the development of the town. Due to the Treaty of Trianon town’s part lying ont he left side of the Danube became the part of Chechoslovakia (Slovak republic today) by the name of Komarno.
Sights: Besides the forts, among town’s famous sights we find the 18th century Roman Catholic Baroque church, the vicarage and the Gyürky Mansion bulit at the beginning of the 20 th century, now operating as János Selye Hospital. Marketplace used to be inhabited by the merchants and craftsmen of the former Brigetio.
From the Villapark of Várgesztes, Majpuszta (Plain of Majk) lies 12 km by car and 4,5 km on foot. Here at the Lake of Majk we find Europe’s single Camaldulian hermitage that could remain intact.
Resort was donated to the order by Count József Esterházy in 1733. Constructions began based on the plans of Franz Anton Pilgram. The church and the „U” shaped main building is surrounded by 20 baroque cell-houses.
Monks living hear took a vow of silence which could be suspended twice a year: at Christmas and at the visit of their families. They lived according to a strict daily routine: day began with a mass before sunrise, after they spent their time praying and studying academic sciences. To keep fit they worked in the garden or occupied themselves with woodcarving and goldsmithing.
Order was dismissed in 1782 by II. József due to the lack of charity activities. Buildings were to face years of devastation untill they became Eszterházy property once again. Móric Eszterházy had the Main building turned into a hunting mansion with an English park around it. Today cell-houses, the mansion’s refectory and the church tower can be visited.
Esztergom is one of the most historic towns in Hungary. Throughout the rich history of our town, times of bright kings, significant events, rich palaces and churches were followed by the massacre of vicious battles, the raids of Tatar and Turkish hords – devastation, followed by reconstruction.
The history of the town accumulates the history of the whole country.
There is not a single decade in the millenial Hungarian history without reference to Esztergom’s name. Where has this historical capital disappeared? Where are its once-famous monuments?
The answer to these questions lies in our vicissitudinous history. Esztergom, as it existed in the Middle Ages, now rests in the ground, under today’s town, and can only be accessed via archeological explorations, since the old town was destroyed during the 150 years of Turkish rule. Its residents were killed or imprisoned. Consequently, at those times of terror, everybody tried to flee the region. Following the defeat of the Turkish, the new settlers carried away the remains, and built a new town. The results of the most recent archeological excavations reveal that the Várhegy (Castle Hill) and its vicinity have been inhabited since the end of the Ice Age (20,000 years). The first people known by name were the Celts from Western-Europe, who settled in the region in about 350 B.C. Under their center on the Várhegy (oppidum) lay their expansive flourishing settlement until the Roman legions conquered the region. Thereafter it became an important border province of Pannonia, known by the name of Solva. The German, Franc, and Avar items found in the area reveal that these people settled in the period of the migrations that were caused by the fall of the Roman Empire. Within the borders of the town, remains of our founding ancestors were found.
The settlement that was founded gained significance after 960 when Géza (who was later crowned king) chose Esztergom his residence. His son, Vajk, who was later called Saint Stephen the First, was born in his palace built on the Roman castrum on the Várhegy (Castle Hill) in about 969-975. At the same location, Géza built the the first church in the memory of Saint Stephen’s marthyrdom. In 973 Esztergom served as the starting point of an important historical event. At the Easter of that year Géza sent a committee to the international peace conference of Caesar Otto I. in Quedlinburg. He offered peace for the previous crusades, and asked for missionaries. King Stephen, to replace the old regal residence, built a palace on the southern side of the hill and a basilica in the middle of the hill, for Saint Adalbert the leader of the Hungarian church, the archbishop of Esztergom.
This was a little summary about Esztergom's early history. The city is approximately 1 hour driving from Villapark Várgesztes.