Gödöllő Royal Waiting Room

The 68 km long section of Pest-Hatvan railway started operation on 2 April 1867. Soon the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 signed by Emperor Franz Joseph and Ferenc Deák was ratified by the restored Diet of Hungary on 29 May 1867. On June 8th, 1867, Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth were crowned king and queen of Hungary.

As a coronation gift, the royal couple were given the Baroque palace of Gödöllö (also known as Grassalkovich Palace. After the male side of the Grassalkovich family died out in 1841, the palace had several owners, and in 1867 it was bought for the coronation.). The decision of parliament designated the palace the resting residence of the King of Hungary. This state lasted until 1918. It was Queen Elisabeth (1837–1898) who specially loved staying in Gödöllő, and Franz Joseph spent with her several weeks in spring and autumn in Gödöllő.

Since the beginning it was a problem for the royal couple the waiting at the railway station, since the waiting room at the station “was small, dirty and had frowsty smell”. So, in 1868 a temporary Tyrol style wooden pavilion was built for the royal couple. In 1882 a new Royal Waiting Room was built in Neo-Renaissance style. Though the building was only one storey, its height was equal to the height of the enlarged two-storey public railway station. Franz Joseph’s waiting room was decorated with green silk wallpaper and Queen Elisabeth’s waiting room was covered with light yellow silk. Both rooms were opening to the Princely Waiting Room with dark red tapestry.

After the death of Sisi in1898, (when she was stabbed to death in Geneva by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni), Franz Joseph had visited the Gödöllő only a few times. The king was in the Royal Palace last time in 1911.

Between the two world wars Regent Miklós Horthy used the Royal Waiting Hall. Near to the end of WWII, retreating German army exploded the Gödöllő railway station and set fire the coal stock in the basement of the Royal Waiting Hall. The Royal Waiting Room was burnt down, only the walls remained safe. In 1945 a flat roof was built on the walls and the building served as a ticket office and waiting room for public.

In 2011 the Royal Waiting Room was reconstructed with the subsidy of Norway Grant based on the original plans from 1882. The renovation received ICOMOS award. Now the building works as a museum and an event hall for weddings, conferences, chamber concerts.


Copyright ©: Text and photos by Károly Teleki Industrial Heritage Hungary

Source: 1) A Gödöllő Királyi Váró rekonstrukciója. Hajós Tibor (author). epiteszforum.hu., 2013. 2) A Gödöllő Királyi Váró 1882. Museum leaflet. House of Arts Gödöllő, 2018. .