The Manor House Betliar
Author: Vladimír Eliáš

The Manor House Betliar

The manor house in Betliar is the only manor house in Slovakia, which has been preserved after 1945 with its original equipment and collections. He was not exposed by the fate of our other aristocratic residences - his facility was not stolen, it was not rebuilt and it has practically served the purpose of the museum since nationalization. So everything you will see here belonged to members of the Andrássy family, whom we consider to be the most important aristocrats in Europe in the 19th century.

Betliar was truly a luxurious residence, built for the purpose of representing its owners. On the site of a smaller Renaissance residence, a residence was established in 1881-86 under Count Emanuel I. Andrássy (1821-1891), which he used mainly as a hunting lodge and museum for his rich collection. The count was inspired mainly by English rural settlements, but we can also find elements influenced by French architecture on the manor house.

Emanuel's son, Count Gejza I. (1856-1938) had the manor house modernized in the early 20th century (probably in 1905), creating a truly luxurious residence with electric lighting, central heating, 16 bathrooms, a beautiful library and numerous comfortable apartments, where in addition to his family also used to be a social elite, taking part in the vicious Bethlehem hunts. Hunting for bears, deer, wolves and wild boars took place in the Bethlehem districts and in the surrounding forests, which surround a large English park around the manor.

We consider its founder to be Count Leopold Andrássy (1767-1824), an enlightened aristocrat, a Freemason and an important collector. It was founded at the end of the 18th century and its area exceeds 57 hectares. According to the list maintained by the ICOMOS organization, it is one of the most important historical gardens in the world. In front of the manor house there is a fountain with a statue of Psyche by the French sculptor (metalworker) Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892). There are many interesting nooks and crannies in the park: at the end of the main walking route of the park, by the pond, there is a menagerie in the form of a medieval castle with a turret, where the Andrássy family bred a brown bear, fox, wolf and lynx. In addition to rare species of trees, you can see a unique artificial water system, which consists of a system of water pits draining water from the Betliarsky stream to three lakes, three fountains and the so-called Great waterfall, the largest of its kind in Slovakia.

The Betliar Museum also includes the Andrássy Mausoleum in Krásnohorské Podhradie and the closed Krásna Hôrka castle.

Source: SNM - Múzeum Betliar