Central Europe: Castles Gear Up for Business

By Guttman, Cynthia | UNESCO Courier, July-August 1999 | Go to article overview

Central Europe: Castles Gear Up for Business


Guttman, Cynthia, UNESCO Courier


From the Danube to the Baltic, a French-backed initiative is drumming up funds to transform a string of palaces into top-notch hotels

He never dreamt he would return to a free country. But nearly fifty years after fleeing his native Hungary, Lazlo Karolyi is now occupying one wing of the 140-room castle where he lived until the age of 12 before fleeing the advancing Red Army with his family. After the 1956 Hungarian uprising, the castle, a 19th-century neoclassical jewel located outside Budapest, was turned into a centre for abandoned children. "There was absolutely nothing left in it," says Karolyi in a polished British accent. In a pattern found to different degrees throughout Central Europe, collections were dispersed or simply destroyed. "We had a library of 30,000 French and Latin manuscripts that were burnt in the courtyard in 1949. My parents buried some silver and china in the grounds when they left that we have found again."Two years ago, Karolyi accompanied his 88-year-old mother over from the United States to attend a charged reinstatement ceremony: the Red Star adorning the front of the castle was removed and proudly replaced with the restored family crest.

Feasibility studies

Now, in his wish to give the neoclassical palace a fresh lease on life, Karolyi is taking part in a project that will eventually transform some 30 to 40 aristocratic residences into a chain of top-notch chateaux-hotels spanning four countries - Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland - a route running from the Danube to the Baltic.

Launched in the early 1990s, the initiative is the brainchild of Christian Dromard, a Frenchman specialized in the field of heritage and tourism. In a context of restructuring in dire economic conditions, tourism from the West was viewed as a potential source of revenue for Central European countries, but restoring the region's considerable wealth of castles could hardly be deemed a priority for financially strapped governments.

As part of a Council of Europe working group on cultural heritage and tourism in Eastern Europe, Dromard put forward a few basic development principles to partners from the region. "The basic premise is that the upgrading of the castles had to be seen as part of an investment and tourist development programme that would help to finance restoration and give historic monuments an income-generating activity while playing up their cultural value. This was readily accepted."

As such, with cultural and tourist authorities in each country, Dromard has spent the past six years drumming up financial support for his cause while traveling across Central Europe with experts on restoration and hotel development to select ideal settings. "Heritage is not a business like any other. The bottom line is that the historical and cultural potential of the buildings must be safeguarded," says Karel Nejdl, head of the Czech Tourist Board. Feasibility studies were conducted for a number of locations. While the first chateaux-hotels will be near capital cities, the project aims, in the long run, to bring tourists to regions that are still largely unexplored by western travellers.

"The idea we have been trying to get across is that monuments are part of a country's tourist offering. As such, they should be regarded as an infrastructure investment, just like the building of an airport or a road. This was the only way that external funding could be obtained for the project," said Dromard. Experience shows that revenue from tourism alone can rarely pay off the cost of restoring castles - Dromard set the average cost at around 30 million French francs ($5 million) - hence the need for state funding and long-term development loans. Gradually, over the past decade, perceiving restoration in the context of economic development has made its way in international financial circles.

Catering with a local flavour

In the past two years, the World Bank and the Council of Europe have made historic monuments eligible for financial aid programmes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Central Europe: Castles Gear Up for Business
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.