Facts about Keszthely

In the next few minutes I’d like to take you to a „virtual tour” in my town Keszthely. First, where is Keszthely? It’s in the western part of Hungary in Zala County, near Lake Balaton. Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe. Keszthely is also called „the capital of lake Balaton” because it has a long and rich history, it’s a school town with several schools (from nursery to university), and it’s a tourist and cultural center, with all-year-round programs. The Festetics family played a very important role in the cultural life of Keszthely.

And now let’s start our 2km long guided tour. Put on your shoes and off we GO!  We are beginning our tour at the Festetics Palace, which is the most famous landmark in Keszthely. It was built in the 18th century. The huge palace has 101 rooms. Some of them are very well-known, for example the Mirrors Room. I think it’s a beautiful room with lots of mirrors. Concerts and wedding ceremonies are organized here. In the palace there is a large Baroque library with thousands of old books. It is really beautiful, but in my opinion the most interesting things about the castle are the secret doors. You cannot see these doors on the walls because they look like bookshelves, but these secret doors connect with other rooms. The palace is also famous for the large French garden round the building.

And now let’s walk down the Main Street. It’s a no car street and also the busiest street in Keszthely, with shops and cafés. There is an interesting museum here too, it is the Doll museum. This museum shows you all types and sizes of dolls dressed in traditional Hungarian costumes. If you are here with your lover, bring a lock with you, because here is a big wall with lots of locks. Just leave your lock here with your partner; it’s a symbol of your love. I think it’s cute.

The Main Street leads to the Main Square. Let’s stop here for a few seconds. The square is surrounded by some buildings, for example the Catholic Church a statue and memorial and my school.  Let’s take a rest in my school, which is called Vajda János Gimnázium. The building is about 150 years old, so it’s much older than FAS, your modern school. Every day and every noon the clock tower plays a traditional folk melody. Vajda Gimnázium has 550 students, aged between 13 and 18 years. There are about 30 teachers in the teaching staff, and our principal is Zoltán Szörényi. Our school has several traditional programs and events, and we have participated in quite a few international projects. There are two fantastic programs that make our grey schooldays colorful: the Vajda Days and the Helikon Festival.

The Vajda Days… last only for two days in September, just but everyone is looking forward to this program, because the students and classes are organizing it, and it is great fun. The youngest classes have to carry out funny tasks, and there is a competition among all the classes. Every class must make a film and do a 10-minute stage performance. These shows are very funny, with dancing and singing, and there are often parodies of the teachers. In the evenings there is a concert and a party for the youngest students. In this year my class won the competition, so we will organize the next Vajda Days in September.

The Helikon Festival a 3-day cultural festival that is organized every 2 years. It is also a competition between students coming  from the high schools of the whole country. There are many categories, for example folk dance, singing, musical instruments or drama: Every evening there are concerts and parties. Keszthely has a population of 20,000, and another 3-4000 students take part in the Helikon Festival.

Our final destination is the Balaton Museum, which, in my opinion, is the most interesting museum in Keszthely. You can learn lots about the archeological sites and the biology of the Balaton region. And now let’s go to the lakeshore and see the lake with our own eyes.

On our way to the lake shore, we will walk through the Helikon Park. The main ally of the park takes you from the town centre to the Balaton lake shore.
And here we are, this is Balaton, a shallow 80km long lake. It is perfect for swimming and sailing in the summer, with its warm silky water (22 to 27 degrees Celsius), but in winter the water can freeze over, so people can skate on the ice. We can always see water birds at the pier – mostly swans, ducks and gulls.
And this is the end our tour in Keszthely. I hope you enjoyed it, and I also hope that you will return one day. Thank you for your attention

Written by Dori

Presentation about Keszthely (with a new kind of presentation technic)