Part 1: Eisenstadt's Esterhazy Palace and Haydn's Home
The Esterhazy Palace dominates Eisenstadt (click and go to the official tourism page for Eisenstadt where I got most of my 'facts' as recounted here).
The Esterhazy family was very well off because of enormous land holdings in Hungary and here in Burgenland (before it became part of Austria). With the Communist disappropriation of private land holdings in Hungary in the twentieth century the family had only its Burgenland land holdings left, which are not small, but the palace became a luxury and was donated to the state which uses part of it as an office complex and most of it as a museum of the Esterhazy family and their most famous music director, composer and conductor, Josef Haydn.
Haydn lived in the city, in a modest home, with his wife Aloisia Keller. Haydn was not a cheap employee, he came with other musicians, singers and actors in tow. Once a more frugal Esterhazy sent him packing, saying they could no longer afford all of this musical extravagance. But he did not last long among the living and the next Esterhazy in charge invited him back. He did come back, but split his time between Vienna and here his last few decades of life.
Haydn died in Vienna, and a few years later his body was brought to Eisenstadt by a sentimental Esterhazy and interred in a special tomb in a very special church that Haydn loved. His body was interred, but it took his head many decades to join his body. Apparently it was removed after his death and sold to the highest bidder. It was apparently a coveted treasure. But today it is back where it belongs, with the body from which it was so rudely taken.
The town in front of the palace is very pleasant:
Haydn's street (now named after him) is to the left in the above photo and can be seen from inside the palace:
Let's walk down his street and see his house:
His house is the one with the flags and the plaque giving the opening times for visitors (I was too late to go in since I decided to see the palace just before its closing):
So, shall we take a tour of the palace? We start in the interior courtyard (yes, they do weddings here):
We go into a side door, and the next thing we know we are into some serious opulence! But that will have to wait for the next page.
Go to Eisenstadt Part 2: the palace tour begins
Go to Eisenstadt Part 3: the palace tour ends
Go to Eisenstadt Part 4: the palace gardens
Go to Eisenstadt Part 5: the Haydn church or Bergkirche
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