The Esterházy Palace at Fertőd is the greatest Baroque-Rococo monument complex in Hungary. On the site of the Palace, Duke Joseph Esterházy initiated the construction of a hunting lodge with twenty-two rooms in 1720, based on the plans of the Viennese architect, Erhard Martinelli. However, the golden age of the Palace began when Nicholas Esterházy (also known as Miklós ‘the Magnificent’) succeeded to the ducal title.
Utilising the grandeur of 18th century Baroque-Rococo architecture, Duke Nicholas enlarged the palace, and with the help of Nicolaus Jakoby; he created a large garden with several alleys. At the French Garden with an Opera House and a Marionette theatre and employed German theatre companies as well as Italian and French ballet dancers. The orchestra of the Palace led by Joseph Haydn the great musician and composer, the chamber composer and conductor at Eszterháza, was well-known all over Europe.
The second golden period of Eszterháza came about at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The suites of the Palace and the French Garden were restored for Duke Nicholas Esterházy IV. and his wife, Countess Margaret Cziráky. Enchanted by Eszterháza the Countess spent her dowry on the restoration of the palace and the gardens. The modernisation of the park started in 1902. Among the designers of the gardens was Anton Umlauft, one of the best-known gardeners in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
The greatest attraction of the gardens, the Rosary was installed in 1908 containing a 220 metres long vaulted, diagonal system of pergolas, with an octagonal Chinese pavilion in its centre and 20 thousand rose-bushes. Unfortunately, the Duchess could not enjoy the pleasures of the extraordinary rose garden for long, she died in 1910. Based on scientific documentation of the garden’s history, the Rosary was restored and reopened in 2015, counting about nine thousand rose-bushes today.