Ráday Palace – Pécel, Hungary - Atlas Obscura

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Ráday Palace

Pécel, Hungary

A seemingly unassuming palace near Budapest hides a stupendously decorated hall. 


Pécel is a suburb of Budapest, located around 20 kilometers east of the Hungarian capital. This small town doesn’t really offer much and it is unknown to most tourists, but it hides a true masterpiece of Baroque painting inside to so-called Ráday Palace.

Ráday Palace sits in the middle of Pécel, and from outside it looks like a typical old mansion. This building was erected during the 18th century as the residence of the noble Ráday family. At the time, they were among the most prominent dynasties in the Hungarian nobility, often associated with the rich cultural life of the country during the Age of Enlightenment. At one point, the Ráday had amassed thousands of books and volumes, which were stored in the large libraries of the Ráday Palace. Over time, the many paintings and books hosted in the palace were sold, and the mansion was eventually turned into a museum.

The ground floor of the palace has various decorated halls, that showcase the history of this once-thriving cultural hotspot, and it is linked to a basement hosting a traditional kitchen with many old tools. However, the main attraction is the large main hall on the upper floor. Here, a breathtaking series of 18th-century frescoes depicting the allegories of science and arts, and various scenes from ancient mythology and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The frescoes were painted by Gedeon Ráday, who also gave the palace its current appearance.

Know Before You Go

Visit the website for info about how to book your visit in advance. Guided tours are offered only in Hungarian, but all visitors are allowed. Bring cash in Hungarian forints or a valid Hungarian credit card, as foreign cards or cash may not be accepted.

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