An enchanting encounter with royalty at Betliar

Stepping into the grounds of Betliar, you start to understand the vast differences between nobility and every day people. The Andrássy family called Betliar their hunting lodge. Some lodge: 42 rooms, 21 of them bedrooms, three dining rooms, a billiard room, a gorgeous library with 1,500 books inside, a rotunda outside housing classic books, and a replica cave in the basement full of artifacts from around the world.
There is a beautiful English-style park, neatly kept, in front of the chateau. Around back the grounds are overgrown and neglected but still worth a walk, especially to a lofty artificial waterfall.
Strange name tags are placed on concrete structures in the park like the Chinese Pavilion - really a meter thick cement walled shed - or the Japanese Bridge - a concrete bridge with a metal Japanese-style roof. Still, the groundskeeper said that money for reconstruction, so far supplied by the French, will eventually transform the whole grounds.


The beautiful chateau at Betliar holds treasures from all over the world.
Daniel J. Stoll

Stepping into the grounds of Betliar, you start to understand the vast differences between nobility and every day people. The Andrássy family called Betliar their hunting lodge. Some lodge: 42 rooms, 21 of them bedrooms, three dining rooms, a billiard room, a gorgeous library with 1,500 books inside, a rotunda outside housing classic books, and a replica cave in the basement full of artifacts from around the world.

There is a beautiful English-style park, neatly kept, in front of the chateau. Around back the grounds are overgrown and neglected but still worth a walk, especially to a lofty artificial waterfall.

Strange name tags are placed on concrete structures in the park like the Chinese Pavilion - really a meter thick cement walled shed - or the Japanese Bridge - a concrete bridge with a metal Japanese-style roof. Still, the groundskeeper said that money for reconstruction, so far supplied by the French, will eventually transform the whole grounds.

The tour of Betliar begins with a descent into the replica cave where stuffed bears, boars and other wild animals sit like trophies on the wall. Continuing on, it is clear that the Andrássys were big travellers. A room devoted to warrior outfits attests to their tastes. Samurai, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, and African warriors stand decked out in full battle dress.

Imagine travelling to Egypt, wondering what would make a good souvenir, and deciding to buy a mummy. A 4,000 year-old mummy from the Giza Pyramid sits next to a giant elephant tusk - not the stuff of ordinary people.

Upstairs, the tour drags a bit, bedroom after bedroom, sitting room after sitting room. The library is amazing though, with English, German, Russian and Hungarian classics lining the walls.

The Andrássy family was fairly prominent in Austria-Hungary at the end of the 19th century. Julius Andrássy was prime minister of Hungary between 1867-71. When the Communists took power in 1948, the last of the family fled to Liechtenstein.


S&S Travel Tips

Information Center - Nám. Baníkov, tel.: 0942/281-01.

Lodging

Hotel Šport- Štítnická 37, 0942/210-60. Old-style basic hotel with shared bathrooms. Double room, 300 Sk for Slovaks, 600 Sk for foreigners.
Hotel Kúpele- 0942/233-72. Standard hotel with two restaurants in rural surroundings two km from the town center. Double room 250 Sk for Slovak, 300 Sk for foreigners.

Restaurants

Tri Roži- Nám. Baníkov, Rožňava. Right on the main square, though the service is rigid (you must get a side order with your meal) the food is excellent and the menu extensive.
Pizzeria Sabi- Nám. Baníkov 12, 0942/260 04. Italian food at moderate prices: an average entree costs 110-120 Sk, and pizzas are cheaper.
Restaurant U Františky- Banícka 13, 0942/261-50. Basic Slovak food with a few Chinese-style specials; lunch will cost less than 100 Sk.


Betliar

Betliar Chateau, Krásna Hôrka Castle and the Mausoleum are open every day except Monday. Summer Hours (May 1-Oct 31): 8 -16:30. Winter Hours (Nov 1-April 30) 9 -14.

Lodging

Chatová osada- Šafárikova 67, Betliar, tel.: 0942/831-14. Impeccably friendly staff. Stay in the pastel colored chaty right next to the chateau, 110 Sk per person.

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