Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The houses of Tolomas
The so-called "Andrássy Castle" is really a large mansion that was once owned by the brother of a famous Hungarian count named Gyula Andrássy. It was built in 1984-95 in the neo-baroque style. During this period of time more than 100 villagers worked full-time at the mansion and its surrounding parks. The Andrássy family abandoned the castle before the end of WWII. When the Soviets moved through, the mansion's contents were ransacked and lost forever.
After Hungary became a communist state in 1948, the castle was taken over by the Hungarian Socialist Trade Worker's Union and remodeled the facilities into a communist youth camp and a weekend retreat for the Communist Party officials.
In 1989, by a miracle of God, the camp was officially taken over by Word of Life and it is now a 2 year Bible Institute and a summer children's camp (for over 1,000 children each summer).
This mansion that I am staying in is obviously an unusual house for this part of rural Hungary. It sits just at the end of the local rural village of Tóalmás, about an hour's drive east of Budapest. It has a population of about 3,000 and has been here in various forms for over 1,000 years. There is a small mineral spring in town which is a summer spa area but not too much else to make it any different than hundreds of other towns.
I love to walk through the village each day and I took some pictures of the streets and houses of this town. Older homes were make of mud brick and straw with tiled roofs while the newer ones are of concrete block covered with stucco. Many have wood burning fireplaces and all have some sort of garden out back, some with chickens and every ones, it seems, with a dog! Enjoy the pictures.