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Eszterházy Palace

Fertőd, Hungary


The family derived its name from the settlement Esterháza, Kingdom of Hungary. The settlement no longer exists, and is not to be confused with the later castle of the same name which they inhabited since the Middle Ages. Since 1421 they became the owners of a property in Galanta.
The most important seat of the Esterházys was Eisenstadt , since the heads of the family chose to make a castle in this tiny village their primary residence. A fortified stronghold had been built there in the 14th century; after the Esterházys acquired it they rebuilt it 1663-1672 to what is now the princely Schloss Esterházy. Their practical reason for choosing to create and maintain the princely court at Eisenstadt may have been that while the region was in Hungary, it had been mainly settled by Germans, and was situated rather close to the Habsburgs' Imperial residence, Vienna.
The Esterházys maintained a number of other residences throughout the Kingdom of Hungary and Transylvania, and those Esterházy princes who preferred the stylish life of the capital spent most of their time in Vienna. In the 1770s, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, who disliked Vienna, had a magnificent new palace constructed in FertÅ‘d , Hungary. It was built on the site of a former hunting lodge. This is the most admired of the Esterházy homes, often called the "Hungarian Versailles."

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