Officials sign 2nd phase of Fertod Esterhazy Palace reconstruction

Budapest, March 19 (MTI) – Major reconstruction work of the Esterhazy Palace in Fertod in north-western Hungary, known as Hungary’s “Versailles”, will continue with the agreement signed by the constructors and the government on Saturday.

The second phase of the 2 billion forint (EUR 7.3 m) EU-funded project will include restoring the Chinese lacquer and porcelain rooms in the main building, as well as concluding the restoration of the marionette theatre, the director of the National Heritage Sites Management Office, told reporters.

The orangery will be refurbished and the road leading to the palace will be resurfaced. Besides this, a new guest reception hall will be built.

Reconstruction work under the second phase is expected to be finished in 2013, when further projects on restoring the rose garden and an English park are hoped for with EU funding, said Varga.

State secretary for culture Geza Szocs attended the signing ceremony.

Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy (1714-1790) started building the baroque Palace, which became home to Joseph Haydn, who lived there from 1766-1790 and wrote many of his symphonies for the Prince’s orchestra at Fertod.


Hungary in constant touch with UK authorities over death of 16 yr-old girl

Budapest, March 19 (MTI) – Hungary’s consul in England is maintaining constant contact with the authorities in connection with the death of a Hungarian 16 year-old girl who fell ill while visiting a Berkshire agriculture college as part of a student group, the foreign ministry’s press chief said on Saturday.

The girl, known as Klaudia, was taken seriously ill on Tuesday evening, according to the ministry’s statement. Doctors said they suspected a serious virus caused her death, but the girl’s parents suspect ambulance staff of negligence.

The group of 11 pupils and three teachers from a school in Szombathely in western Hungary left for Berkshire last Sunday on a study trip.

When Klaudia fell ill with a fever and stomach cramps, her teachers called for an ambulance and talked to her parents by phone. At first the ambulance staff gave advice over the phone about how to treat her. When her state of health failed to improve her teachers again called the ambulance.

Ambulance staff arrived and examined the girl but said there was nothing especially wrong with her and suggested she rest. The teachers took her to their own bedrooms and kept supervision over her, but twenty minutes after the medics had left the teachers noticed she was no longer breathing. The teachers tried to resuscitate her and called the ambulance once more. When a doctor arrived, she was already dead.

Lajos Batyi, Klaudia’s father, told MTI’s London correspondent that he held the ambulance staff responsible for his daughter’s death. He said had they taken her to hospital in time then doctors would have been able to save her life. Batyi said he trusted the UK police would conduct a proper investigation and clarify the role of the ambulance staff.

He said students had reported the ambulance staff acting oddly. One pupil reported one of the ambulance people complaining that they had a lot of work, and, because the gate to the college had been closed, they had had to park far away and run through the grounds. When examining the girl, they told her not to panic and not to be hysterical.

Klaudia’s family is awaiting the result of a toxicology report.

Other pupils in the group arriving home to Hungary were urged to see their doctors. It turns out that several students were feeling ill, but not seriously. Two said they had coughs and stomach ache. It is unknown whether these symptoms had been caused by a virus or had another cause.


EU Presidency – Hungarian Days to be held in Brussels shopping centre

Brussels, March 19 (MTI) – One of the busiest shopping centres of Brussels will be the venue for Hungarian Days next week.

The series of events, to be held in the Anspach shopping mall on Place de Brouckere, will feature an exhibition, a piano concert of Liszt works, a dance performance and a culinary show.

The programme will be organised by the municipality of Szigliget, SW Hungary, and the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Brussels.

Residents of Szigliget will organise a spectacular march accompanied by music in the inner city on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


Cardinal Mindszenty memorial unveiled in Western Hungary

Budapest, March 19 (MTI) – A memorial tablet dedicated to the late Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was inaugurated at a prison in Sopronkohida, W Hungary, on Saturday.

Bishop of Veszprem Mindszenty was imprisoned late in 1944 after he had issued a circular, calling upon Hungarian Arrow Cross (Nazi) leader Ferenc Szalasi to stop military operations in western Hungary and thus save the region from wartime destruction.

Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Sandor Lezsak said the memorial site would reinforce the “healthy cult of Mindszenty experiencing a revival in the Carpathian Basin”.

Mindszenty (1892-1975) was arrested in late November and carried to Sopronkohida on December 23. Appointed cardinal heading the Catholic Church in Hungary in 1946, he became a staunch opponent of the communist regime. He was arrested in 1948 and sentenced to life imprisonment on trumped-up charges.

The cardinal was released during the anti-Soviet revolution of 1956, but when it was defeated, on November 4, he was forced to seek asylum at the US Embassy in Budapest. He remained at the embassy until 1971, when he was allowed to leave Hungary.