Széchenyi-Wenckheim Castle Ruins – Békéscsaba, Hungary - Atlas Obscura

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Széchenyi-Wenckheim Castle Ruins

Békéscsaba, Hungary

The ruins of an early 1900s neo-Baroque mansion sit nestled in a local park in the Hungarian plains. 


Off an unremarkable roundabout, down a typical country road, inside a standard park, the plains of Hungary have tucked away the ruins of one of its countless beautiful mansions. 

Built in the early 1900s for the newlywed couple of Count Antal Széchényi and Krisztina Wenckheim, the mansion saw minimal use before the count passed away and the family emigrated amidst the Second World War. The local residents looted and burned some of the mansion, and in 1945, some demolition occurred.

It is said that the building saw use under the Allies (and there is allegedly a bomb crater in the nearby woods, reachable by a walking path); and that in the 1980s, it was used for civil defense exercises. Otherwise, however, the building has remained untouched and has fallen back into nature’s hands. Now the mansion sits as a beautiful, hidden remnant of Hungary’s fascinating past.

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Know Before You Go

The Széchényi-Wenckheim kastélyrom ruins were once guarded only by warning signs about not entering the building. They have since been blocked off by fencing. However, the basement can be seen via cameras, and the facade is beautiful regardless. Walk down the steps behind the building for more good views. Inquire about drone usage.

The park is best reached by car but can also be reached via bus and a 30-minute walk from the main highway (#44).  The closest major city is Békéscsaba. From the main station, take a bus in the direction of Gyula (board at bus stand #6); however, ask for a ticket to Vesely Csárda (VEH-say CHAR-dah]. The stop is approximately 8 kilometers from the city and is at a roundabout featuring a gas station on the right, a restaurant on the left, and a pedestrian bridge across the road just after the bus stop. You can reach this stop from Gyula on a bus going towards Békéscsaba, but the route will take longer and the stops will be on the opposite side. 

** If continuing by bus, take a photo of the bus times on the side of the road that you'll board at later so you can better time your journey.

Once off at the bus stop, cross the road to the restaurant (the csárda). Walk in front of it and follow the small sidewalk path around and behind it. This connects to some small roads by houses, and these roads will soon connect ahead and on the left to Pósteleki utca, or the main one-lane road to the park. The walk takes approximately 30 minutes and is flat. 

Inside the park, continue to walk straight onto a path and continue until the mansion appears.

If driving, head to the same roundabout as the bus stop is at and follow the posted sign for "Pósteleki Szabadidőpark" via Pósteleki utca. Park at the end of the road in the designated areas, then walk the path to the mansion.

Afterward, stop by the csárda for some great lángos or other food before you head to your next destination!

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