The History of the Palace

Sümeg and its environs were given to the episcopate of Veszprém as a royal gift at the beginning of the 11th century, which influenced its development and prominence. During the Turkish occupation, it grew to be a very significant and important city: when Fehérvár and Veszprém fell, Sümeg castle became one of Transdanubia’s main bastions, which even the Ottoman army was unable to occupy. The Veszprém episcopate also fled to the Sümeg castle from the Turks and remained there for nearly two hundred years.


When Márton Padányi Biró was appointed bishop, he intended to carry out both ecclesiastical and secular duties from Sümeg castle. However, the ruler, Maria Theresa, refused to approve the plans, so the spirited bishop chose a one-story building at the foot of the castle’s southern slope, serving as an episcopal mansion, as the site of his permanent residence.


The palace that stands today was built gradually over many decades. In the exhibition, we can see the surviving original bricks of the oldest wing, which was most likely started by Bishop György Széchényi (1605-1695). The building was enlarged to a U-shape at the end of the 17th century, but it did not receive its final shape with the enclosed courtyard until a few years after Padányi’s consecration as bishop (1745), when he began to make his grandiose vision, worthy of the seat, a reality.


The palace’s façade, inner courtyard, and the entire building complex are characterised by symmetry and harmony, and the interiors are decorated with ornate, sometimes excessive, but spectacular Baroque and Rococo elements.


During a major reconstruction in the mid-nineteenth century, the building received classicist elements: the oriel window pinnacles and the original wooden roof were demolished, the interior murals were repainted, and even the stoves were replaced. According to contemporary records, the county ball was held in the ceremonial hall in 1834, after which the room, which had once been decorated with magnificent frescoes, marble stuccos, and Rococo stoves, was divided into three sections.


There were frequent residents throughout the building’s 20th century history (within the walls there was a forestry office, then a School for Girls owned by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, but also a military hospital), and then, following the nationalisation of 1947, between 1951 and 1988, there was a school and dormitory within the palace walls.


The National Trust of Monuments for Hungary took over trusteeship of the building in 2001 and completed the most necessary renovations. The roof, and then the entire façade, were renovated in the 2000s.


The historical restoration of the palace complex and its development into a tourist attraction took place between 2018 and 2021, within the framework of the National Palace and the National Castle Programme, financed by the (NÖF) National Heritage Protection Development Nonprofit Ltd.