The History of the Helikon Taverna
The Taverna in Vonyarcvashegy was originally built to be a press-house around 1820. Its original plans can be found in the archives. The building appears in the 1858 list of the buildings of the Keszthely Festetics-manor as a ‘Cellar and Press-house’. The cellar in Vonyarc was one of the most significant winery centres for the Festetics family – this is from where they managed their vine-growing and wine-making activities.
After the Second World War the Festetics press-house was nationalised, then for a while it was used by the Keszthely farmers’ co-operative, and later it was used as a children’s holiday home for Zala County Council. From the late 1960’s it operated as a catering unit. The reconstructions which ignored the conservation aspect caused significant damages in the building.
Although after the change of regimes the press-house became a listed building, neglecting the maintenance works drifted it to the verge of collapse.
For the Hungarian private persons operating the building since 2002 the objective was not merely the successful running of a touristic business but also to endorse the conservation and the presentation of values.
The conservation works of the Taverna building took place between 2006 and 2008 with exterior and interior renovation and the complete reconstruction of the roofing. As a result, the services of a 13-room guesthouse became available besides the renovated restaurant. Be developing a panoramic terrace the one-time Festetics-estate became a venue for events with a unique atmosphere.
From 2011, in parallel with constructing Zenit Hotel Balaton, the Taverna’s surroundings were also made up.
In 2012–2013 in the listed historic cellar – in harmony with the original vine-growing and wine-making traditions – a thematic exhibition area was formed that is unique in Hungary. Simultaneously, floodlighting was installed for the classicistic facade of the Taverna.