Gyula Andrássy Foundation

Summary of the visit to the Andrássy castles in Slovakia and the Andrássy Archives at Levoča (Lőcse)

(June 2017)

The goal of the trip was to size up the hitherto unresearched archives of the Andrássy family at Levoča (Lőcse) (which is part of the Slovak National Archives) and to lay the groundwork for a cooperation agreement whereby this collection of documents could be researched. The documents of the Andrássy family’s Krásna Hôrka (Krasznahorka) branch may be researched, whilst those of the Betliar (Betlér) branch may not, because the collection has not been catalogued up to now.

Starting from the 13th century (the earliest document dates to 1293), the papers show in detail the Andrássy family’s economic, cultural and political activities and it opens a window on to the family’s official and private correspondence. The day-to-day management of the estates can be traced through the various contracts, legal documents, maps etc. The Andrássy archives are a unique, unchartered repository of Hungarian and Central European history and culture. Not only due to the activities of Gyula Andrássy Senior, the first Hungarian prime minister of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, but also due to the political and cultural activities of some of the other members of the family. As an example, György, Manó and Dénes Andrássy were all close friends of István Széchenyi and were heavily involved in the modernization initiatives.

The other goal of the trip was to visit the various Andrássy properties which today operate as museums.

Of all the Andrássy châteaux, the most important one is at Betliar (Betlér) and, because of its original furnishings, is considered quite unique in Slovakia, as well as in the entire Central European region. The château’s most important feature is its library, which holds approx. 12,000 books, amongst them valuable incunabula. This library has not been fully catalogued as of yet; for this reason, cataloguing and researching it would be an important addition to reading culture and library science in the Monarchy. The Gyula Andrássy Foundation has a good working relationship with the château museum at Betliar (Betlér) and this relationship was further cemented during this visit.

Gyula Andrássy Senior’s neogothic style mausoleum can be found at Trebišov (Tőketerebes). The former prime minister considered this château as one of his favorites. The château was recently refurbished and a new exhibit is in the process of being organized. At Humenné (Homonna), the Andrássy château is basically a fortified renaissance style building which was redesigned in the 18th century; the inner halls are decorated with rich murals. During the 19th century the building was modernized: an imposing staircase and a two-storied library date from this period. Several portraits of the Andrássy family, among them Gyula Andrássy’s and his wife, Katinka Kendeffy’s, portraits by the French painter Édouard Dubufe are kept here.