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Stories from the villa's past
The villa was bought and renovated in 2002 by architect Zsolt Gyetvai, who has been making his wines there since 2005, initially for his family and friends. It was in 2015 that the villa was opened to members of the public as a wine cellar, wine bar and exhibition space. Its long history is full of interesting stories.
The plot belonged to the Eszterházy estate
The land on which Villa Gyetvai stands today was once part of the Eszterházy estate. In the first half of the twentieth century, a substantial section of the beach was owned by the noble family, more specifically by Countess Mária Anna Eszterházy. The land was then mainly used as ploughland and vineyards, with only a few buildings. One of them was the Savanyúvíz Restaurant, which was located near the State Heart Hospital.
The villa was built by a restaurateur
In the 1920s, the estate was divided into 73 units and some of them were sold off over the years. In 1943, Lajos Szabó, a restaurateur from Budapest, bought the present site of the villa directly from the Countess for 42 000 pengő. If the available sources are to be trusted, Lajos Szabó started his career from the bottom, as an elevator boy at the Astoria Hotel. However, by 1926 he was the owner of the Debrecen Restaurant in Budapest. The restaurant, which was part of the Debrecen Hotel, had a garden and a terrace and it quickly became one of the most popular restaurants of the era.
Lajos Szabó probably bought the plot of land in Balatonfüred for his wife, Margit Neuberger, who just like her husband was the child of day labourers from the Mosonmagyaróvár area. Immediately after the purchase of the land, the design and construction of the villa began. The master architect Károly Bán from Veszprém was entrusted with the execution. The wine cellar on the lower level of the house was part of the original plans.
The Secret Villa
In the 1950s both the Debrecen Restaurant and the Villa in Füred were taken into state ownership, the latter becoming a holiday resort of the National Craftsmen Company. But before that, legend has it that the family who built the villa buried 60-70 kilograms of silver in the garden. And although several attempts were made by representatives of the new state power to search for the treasure, nothing was found. That is why the building was given the name "The Secret Villa". Eventually, in the 1970s, the family's descendants living in West Germany were granted special permission to dig up their own silver, which they then had to officially purchase from the state.
The Törley Villa
The other story of the villa's mid-twentieth century period also relates to another common name for the building, the Törley Villa. Research by several historians proves that the villa was never owned by the Törley family. The name may derive from the fact that the owner, Lajos Szabó, as a restaurateur, kept a large stock of drinks, including a considerable quantity of Törley champagne, in his wine cellar under the house. Immediately after the end of the Second World War, a number of local residents looted the cellar, which was probably unattended, and drank the wines, including the Törley sparkling wines. And the memory of those heady moments right after the difficult war years lingered in the local community long.