ROMAN RUIN GARDEN
Archaeological finds show that Hévíz and its surroundings were densely populated in Roman times. In 1931, the remains of a villa from the early period of the Roman empire were discovered. The villa was inhabited for almost four centuries from the first half of the 1st century to the beginning of the 5th century.
One of the most significant finds in the Balaton region is a stone building, probably a Villa Urbana, from the early period of the Roman empire excavated in the Egregy district. Built around 100 AD, the villa had a floor area of nearly 1,000 square metres, a collonaded porch, and hot, warm and cold water baths. It was rebuilt several times but survived until the early 5th century AD. The building of the villa farm or settlement, which was excavated and now to be displayed, consisted of several buildings and was rebuilt several times during its long period of use. The first "restoration" of the ruins took place in 2003 intending to present the four building periods revealed by the excavations. Since then, the excavated parts have deteriorated and the ruins have fallen into a state of disrepair necessitating restoration, which was completed in 2011.
To the west of the residential building, the remains of the farm buildings belonging to the villa were found, which may have formed a group of buildings connected to the excavated ruin. These remains show that the Romans masterfully integrated their villas and buildings into the Pannonian landscape. The villa at Egregy and the finds elsewhere in Hévíz - the Jupiter altar stone found near the lake, early imperial coins unearthed by divers - show that the "miracle lake" with its healing water may have played a role in the settlement of the Romans.
The earliest medal found here was minted by Emperor Tiberius and indicates that a 10x10 metre log house was built here with flat stones placed under the beams in the first half of the 1st century AD. Charcoal found on the stones suggests that the house burnt down, probably at the end of the 1st century.
At the turn of the 1st and 2nd centuries, a large stone building was erected on its site. It was 45 m long and almost 23 m wide, covering an area of more than 1,000 square metres. The building, with a portico on the east side, had hot, warm, and cold water baths. However, it is not certain that the building was the residential building of the Villa Urbana, as no evidence of central heating has been found.
The building was probably destroyed towards the end of the 2nd century, but was rebuilt in the 3rd century with a different internal layout, and also a sanctuary to Mithras was erected inside. The foundation stone of the altar was found during the excavation. The sanctuary and the building were destroyed in the 4th century, but the building was soon re-erected until it was finally destroyed in the early 5th century. The function of the site is uncertain in this period as well. It was probably used for some kind of economic activity.
Flavius and his nurse
The sculpture depicts the child Flavius Theodosius (reigned 379-395, last emperor of the Roman Empire) with his nurse. It is Ferenc Farkas’s work from 2015. The sculpture commemorates the Roman legend about the origin of Lake Hévíz, according to which Flavius suffered from polio. His Christian nurse wanted to cure him by all means so she prayed to the Virgin Mary every day. The Virgin, answering her prayers, caused a spring to gush forth, the medicinal waters of which healed Flavius. He grew stronger and later became the emperor of the Roman Empire. The spring has been feeding Lake Hévíz ever since.
Dry Kneipp path
In the garden of ruins, the dry Kneipp path on the outline of the unexcavated walls hidden in the ground offers tired tourists a refreshing experience. The layout of the path follows the contours of the remains of the Roman building, which was part of the villa farm. Walking barefoot on gravel, breakstone, wood surfaces and wood chips of various sizes provides a natural massage. It is very good for the circulation of the blood in the feet and strengthens the vascular walls. By massaging the reflex zones, it can stimulate all the organs, making you feel refreshed and invigorated.
Dog sculpture or The Gateway to Home
The sculpture is composed of a door of a typical Roman house and a dog. The door is made up of geometric elements, semi-open and transparent, suggesting a link between the present time and the past. The dog figure sitting in the doorway is a Great Dane, a breed already known to the Romans, dignified and aristocratic, embodying the Roman nobility, and repelling unauthorised intruders. In Pompeii, several floor mosaics survived near the entrance of houses and they depicted a watchdog in various situations. Some of these mosaics bear the inscription 'cave canem', which had the same function as the warning signs ‘Beware of dog', or ‘Bad dog'. The door is made of limestone and the dog figure is granite.
The sculpture is a copy of a bronze figure of about 2 cm from the 4th century, which was found during excavations near Hévíz. Experts have several possible theories about the purpose of the original figure: it could have been a child's toy or a totem animal. The most likely idea is that it could have decorated a late Roman tomb. The statue was made by the sculptor Ferenc Farkas.
Roman soldier's tomb, also known as the late Roman brick tomb
The tomb is made of bricks and quicklime. It was discovered completely intact during excavations in 1925. A brick kiln was also found in the yard of a house in Egregyi Street during ploughing. The finds in the tomb date from the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine II. A bronze belt buckle, a fibula, an iron knife, the emperor's coins and, of course, the skeleton of a Roman soldier were found in the tomb. The artefacts were taken to the Balaton Museum in Keszthely but the skeleton remained in place. On the way to the Árpád-era church, 276 Roman coins from the 4th century were also found in an earthenware jar.
Museum of Egregy
The former joiner’s workshop was renovated and converted into a museum in 2015. Between 2015 and 2020, the 282 m2 exhibition space featured a permanent exhibition under the title ‘Millennia of Hévíz’. The museum is currently under renovation and cannot be visited for an indefinite period.
Eras and wines walking path
A thematic walking path in the Egregy district with boards presenting the history of viticulture and the Pannonian landscape from the Roman settlement to the Middle Ages. The Romans brought the science of viticulture with them to Pannonia, including the area around Lake Balaton, as the inscription Da Bibere (give me a drink) on a ceramic vessel found nearby testifies. Viticulture became successful because of the Romans' expertise and favourable natural conditions. The soils of Egregy are medium-textured, sandy and slightly stony. The 'warm', sometimes even 'fiery' soil, combined with the favourable climate made it possible to produce wines of excellent quality. It is no surprise that the Hungarian population living here in the Árpád era and the German settlers who arrived after the Turkish occupation continued the viticulture, which goes back to Roman roots.
The nearast Roman ruins - Fenékpuszta or Valcum
The nearest Roman ruins to Hévíz are in Fenékpuszta, in the former Roman settlement of Valcum. The settlement had a Roman military fortress, the remains of which you can walk around. You can learn more about the fortress if you visit the Balaton Museum in Keszthely.
The church in Egregy is one of the three remaining Árpád-era churches in the region of Lake Balaton.
01.04. – 30.09.: 8:00 – 19:00
01.10. – 31.03.: 8:00 – 16:00
The exact date of the construction of the St Magdalene church is unknown, but it was probably built around the middle of the 13th century.
However, it is not mentioned in written records until much later, in 1341.
The first patron saint of the church was St Catherine of Alexandria. The church tower is three-storeyed, richly designed, with mullioned windows on each floor. The tower is surmounted by a Rhemish roof, which is braced by eight wooden beams. The building material of the church is sandstone, which has withstood the ravages of time. Although the church was heavily damaged in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was later renovated in the Baroque period in 1731. Fortunately, only the most essential repairs were made during the renovation, so the medieval form of the church was preserved. During the renovation, the interior and exterior decorative paintings and the nave elevation were made, and the vaults were replaced. After the reconstruction, it was rededicated and its new patron saint became Saint Magdalene.
The church has been restored several times since then: in 1860, 1912, 1964-65, 1990 and 1991, and most recently in 2015.
The church has a sanctuary with a rectangular apse, a single nave, it is oriented, the structure is easy to see, the only decorative and space-enriching element is the row of niches of the north wall. Under the tower, there is a fragment of a baptismal font from the Romanesque period and the altar is decorated with a medieval consecrated cross. It is important to mention the wall paintings of the church. They are not of medieval origin but a clear testimony to the architectural enrichment of the church and demonstrate respect for folk art. On the south side, there is an open baroque door.
The vault of the tower, joined by a rectangular nave, was restored in the 18th century. The church tower is three-storeyed, richly designed, with mullioned windows on each floor. The tower is surmounted by a Rhemish roof, which is braced by eight wooden beams. In terms of its foundations, it mainly preserved the forms of wooden architecture. On the exterior, painted decorations and incised forms have been preserved.
The church in Egregy is a particularly beautiful example of Romanesque village architecture, a specially protected historic building, which may owe its integrity and stylistic purity to the fact that the settlement was abandoned during the Turkish occupation and moved down into the valley. As a result, this church lost its religious significance and became merely a cemetery chapel.
Following the Festetics family in Hévíz
The Festetics family was the most important aristocratic dynasty of Keszthely and its surroundings. The history of Hévíz is intertwined with their work at several points, so it is no coincidence that you can see works of art and buildings in several parts of the town that commemorate members of the Festetics family. Few people know that the transformation of Lake Hévíz into a spa and its development for therapeutic purposes is also owed to them.
Count György Festetics I., who was known throughout Europe and was a highly educated man, started the draining and clearing of the marsh around the lake. His work is commemorated by the square that bears his name (where the entrance to the St. Andrew's Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases is also located), as well as a life-size statue of the Count and a bronze braille table depicting the Lake Baths and their immediate surroundings.
The Lake Baths were further developed by the generations that followed him (László Festetics, then Tasziló II). Tasziló II. is also credited with, among other things, the planting of the protective forest around the lake and the creation of the forest park, which is still the "lungs" of the town and a popular recreational area. The short access road to the town through the bald cypress forest is called Festetics Alley. The Festetics Promenade runs from the southern entrance of the Lake Baths on Ady Endre Street (Festetics Bathhouse) to the promenade in the protective forest around the lake from the east.
Festetics sites in the area
Balatongyörök - Lady Mary Hamilton's resting place, Szépkilátó (lookout point)
Balatonszentgyörgy - Csillagvár (Star Castle) (exhibition, excursion point)
Cserszegtomaj - Festetics Cellar (restaurant)
Gyenesdiás - Festetics Lookout Tower (built lookout tower, excursion site)
Keszthely - Festetics Palace exhibitions (Aristocratic Lifestyle, Carriage Museum, Hunting Museum, Historical Model Railway Exhibition, Palm House, Amazon House) and Park of the Palace,
Keszthely - Balaton Museum,
Georgikon Farm Museum and Historical Exhibition Centre
Gyenesdiás - Imre Festetics Animal Park
Keszthely - Helikon Monument (Helikon Park),
Seated Statue of George Festetics (Main Square),
Our Lady of Hungary Parish Church (Festetics Crypt and epitaphs),
Festetics Mausoleum (St. Nicholas Cemetery)
Fenékpuszta - Former Festetics manor house and small mansion (currently under renovation).
Keszthely - Fenyves (Pinewood) Alley
Keszthely, Újmajor (Szendrey-telep), Júlia Szendrey Memorial Room.
Vonyarcvashegy - Festetics Helikon Tavern Restaurant, wine and gastronomy exhibition space
Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit, designed by the architect János Bocskai, was completed in three years with the support of the local population.
The blue church was consecrated by Archbishop József Szendi on 9th September 1999, the day of number 9.
In front of the church, a sculpture entitled Angel by Gergely Gál stands on a 5-metre high column.
A statue of St Elisabeth of the House of Árpád by sculptor László Marton is at the entrance to the church, and a little further away on the hill are the works of Jenő Molnár, a bust of Count István Széchenyi and a bronze portrait of St Stephen in a wooden frame.
The seven towers of the church represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are four bells in the towers, the tallest tower has no bells for static reasons. The right and left towers have two bells each. The bell on the right side was cast in honour of St. Peter from the donations of Dr Béla Horváth and his family, and the bell on the left side was cast in honour of St. Paul from the donations of Mrs Imre Varga. The two other bells were moved from the old church to the present site.
The interior of the church combines modern architecture with traditional features highlighted by the beautiful woodwork.
The church has a capacity of 1,000 people and its good acoustics make it a regular venue for organ concerts.
The stained glass windows, reminiscent of Gothic forms, were made by Endre Simon, an artist from Hévíz. The 200-year-old cross on the sanctuary wall is an art treasure and was donated to the church, and restored by restorer and painter Gyula Károlyi.
The bronze statue of Christ on the left side of the altar, and the bronze statue of the Lady of Hungarians wearing the Hungarian crown on the right side are the work of László Marton.
The fire enamel paintings on the walls were created by László Morvay.
Church of the Heart of Jesus
The Church of the Heart of Jesus was built between 1994 and 1995 according to the plans of the architect János Bocskai.
The present church is an extension of the two-storey belfry built at the beginning of the 20th century. The smaller bell of the church was cast in honour of Mary Magdalene in 1905. The third floor of the neo-Romanesque tower was added in 1937 when the community of Egregy cast the larger bell of the church in memory of the war dead of the community. The waist of the bell bears the names of the sixteen war heroes who died in the First World War. Lime trees were also planted next to the tower in their honour. In 2000, a military memorial park was created next to the church and 70 headstones were erected in the park to commemorate the fallen heroes of the First and Second World Wars.
The church, consecrated in 1995 by Brigadier General and Chaplain General Dr Gáspár Ladocsi, is also called the Fradi Church as the Ferencváros Gymnastics Club provided significant support for its construction. The close connection with the club is reflected in the white and green colours of the interior design and the small memorial corner on the right side of the entrance, where Ferencváros souvenirs are displayed. The interior woodcarvings of the church, the statue of Christ behind the altar and the Stations of the Cross adorning the wall are the work of Transylvanian woodcarvers. The paintings were completed in 1997 by a local artist, Bernadett Varga.
For a long time, neither the Calvinists nor the Lutherans had a church in Hévíz. From the 1920s, their services were held in private houses and the Hall of Culture in the Spa Hospital or the small hall of the cinema.
In 1938, the plan of the church was created based on the design of Bálint Szeghalmi but due to inflation and the World War, it could not be built. The town council donated the current plot of land to the denominations in 1994. The architect Mihály Zoób was commissioned to update Bálint Szeghalmi's earlier design. The construction was supported by the municipality and foreign denominations. Constructed in three years, the church was consecrated in 1998 by Evangelical Bishop Dr Béla Harmati and Reformed Bishop Dr Mihály Márkus. The red stone walls and marble decoration of the church are reminiscent of the Hungarian Reformed churches in Transylvania.
The interior woodwork and the triptych made by the Kossuth and Munkácsy Prize-winning tapestry artist Rózsa Polgár are remarkable.
The bell in the tower is located under an open arch and was donated to the church by Károly Borsos and his family. The organ was completed in 2004 by Miklós Albert, an organ builder from Győr. The church is used by both the Hungarian Reformed Church and the German Evangelical Church.
Icon of the Holy Mother of God "Fountain of Life"" - Orthodox Church
The newest church in Hévíz is called the Icon of the Holy Mother of God "Fountain of Life”.
The foundation stone of the Orthodox Church was laid on 27th December 2019 by His Eminence Márk, Metropolitan of Budapest-Hungary, the Exarch of the Hungarian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Gábor Papp, Mayor of Hévíz, as well as representatives of the Hungarian Orthodox community and the Orthodox community of Hévíz-Keszthely.
The construction works started in 2020, according to plans agreed with the Municipality of Hévíz. The church, which will be 15x15 metres in size and 12 metres high, will be built in the traditional brick construction method. The masterly chamfered corners of the exterior walls of the church show the asymmetrical relief niches, a masterly combination of modern and ancient motifs. The helmeted onion dome is adorned with an eight-pointed gold-plated cross.
Shaded by plane trees and lined with benches, the Dr Schulhof Vilmos Promenade overlooks the lake of Hévíz on one side and the historic buildings of St Andrew’s Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases on the other. The historic buildings were built in the 1870s and were converted in the early 1900s into the two-storey houses you can see today.
House György (George)
Built in the Art Nouveau style in the northern part of the “Újtelep” (New Site) by the Festetics family. It is named after György Festetics, the founder of the spa town. It is currently Building "A" of the St. Andrew's Hospital.
The house was built in 1863 but was named House Rákóczi in 1906 in honour of the fact that the ashes of Ferenc Rákóczi II were brought home from Constantinople to Hungary in October of that year. It is currently Building “B" of the St. Andrew's Hospital.
It was named after Karola Ella, the daughter of Tasziló Festetics. It is currently Building “C" of the St. Andrew's Hospital. Heading south, the next building is the restaurant and banquet hall. This building was the boundary of the Festetics estate and was the first stone house built to accommodate spa guests in the early 1860s. By 1909, a storey was added, giving it the function of a ‘Kursaal', an essential feature of the spa resort. It is now the banqueting hall of St. Andrew's Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases.
House Ferenc József
It was named after the fact that in the year of the house's inauguration, Franz Joseph - King of Hungary and Emperor of Austria - promoted Taszilo Festetics (II), the builder of the house, to the rank of prince. It is currently Building “D" of the St. Andrew's Hospital.
The building was built in 1870-71 according to the plans of Ferenc Lonkay, the architect of the Festetics family manor. The house was part of the "Újtelep” site, where the buildings were numbered in a row, so the house kept its name. Currently, the Heviz Spa and St. Andrew's Hospital runs a hotel in the building.
Its original name was Villa Tasziló, but after the death of Prince Tasziló Festetics (II), it was renamed House Deák after the famous politician of the era, Ferenc Deák.
Buildings that no longer exist
The oldest and first therapeutic building by the stream was the Cupping House in the 1800s. The Jerusalem Restaurant was once located in the same area, in the “Ótelep” (Old site), and the Poor House, or the Poor Baths, was not far from the main entrance. In the early 1900s, the old cupping house changed its name to House Jókai, and behind it, the House Kisfaludy was erected. On the Schulhof Promenade, where the present management buildings of the Lake Baths are, there was already the baths management building and the carriage station. The Zander Institute was a few metres away, but there were also shops, and the Milk Hall was established almost opposite the main entrance to the lake. On the other side, soft music came from the small Music Pavilion. The former Poorhouse was then called House Csányi. On the right bank of the stream, where the mud factory stands today, there was once the gendarmerie headquarters. A tennis court and a Roman Catholic chapel stood on the site of the indoor baths. The first cinema operated on the site of the Rózsakert. And another interesting fact: the guests arriving from Keszthely did not enter the spa town through the trees of Festetics Alley where there was no road built at that time, but from today's Ady Endre Street, roughly where the promenade now leads into the park to the left of the entrance to the Festetics Bathhouse.