Keszthely in detail

History

The Romans built a fort at Valcum (now Fenékpuszta), around 5km to the south, and their road north to the colonies at Sopron and Szombathely is today’s Kossuth Lajos utca. The town’s former fortified monastery and Franciscan church on Fő tér were strong enough to repel the Turks in the 16th century.

In the middle of the 18th century, Keszthely and its surrounds (including Hévíz) came into the possession of the Festetics family, who were progressives and reformers, very much in the tradition of the Széchenyis. In fact, Count György Festetics (1755–1819), who founded Europe’s first agricultural college, the Georgikon, here in 1797, was an uncle of István Széchenyi.