Rackeve Tourist Attractions
Founded in the 15th C and formerly part of Serbia, this small town's attractions include one of the most beautiful Greek Orthodox churches in Hungary and the Baroque castle which belonged to Prince Eugen of Savoy, who defeated the Turks. Ráckeve is situated on Csepel, the 50km (31mi.)-long island in the Danube, a popular resort for the city dwellers.
About the mid-15th C the Serbs, fleeing from the approaching Turks, settled on the island and built an Orthodox church which was consecrated in 1487. Structurally this well preserved building has the appearance of a Christian Late Gothic church but with the division of the church into three being more in keeping with Orthodox liturgy (vestibule for the women, nave for the male congregation and the apse divided off by the iconostasis for the clergy). Particularly impressive are the apparently Byzantine frescos on the walls and vaulting (1765-71) by the artist Todor Gruntovics. Concealed beneath is a 15th C. painting which is currently being exposed. Beginning on the southern wall of the nave is the Life and Passions of Christ and on the west wall the Last Judgment. In the center of the vaulting surrounded by angels is Christ the pancreator giving his blessing. The church decor also dates from the 18th C with a valuable iconostasis from 1768.
Following his glorious campaigns Prince Eugen of Savoy, to whom the Habsburgs were indebted for the victory in 1697 over the Turks at Zenta, built a summer residence in Ráckeve (1700/02), in the center of his estates. He engaged no less an architect than Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt (1668-1745), who ranks alongside Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach as the most important representative of Austrian High Baroque and went down in art history as the architect behind the Belvedere in Vienna. Ráckeve Palace was his first great commission, so to speak his début as a builder of magnificent mansions, from which he went on to command extensive knowledge. The palace (known as "House of Architecture" today) is situated north of the Danube bridge and can only be visited from the grounds. The focal point of the three winged building around a courtyard (both the stable blocks down to the road are a later addition by Andreas Mayerhoffer) is the prominent central ressaut with the coat of arms of Prince Eugen in the tympanum. The balustrade is decorated with statues of Greek gods and heroes which reflect the virtues of the Prince. The octagonal tambour of the central ressaut was originally covered by an attic roof which was burnt down and replaced by the dome at the beginning of the 19th C. The central ressaut conceals the large hall which has two smaller adjoining rooms for functions. Behind is the open hall, known as the Sala Terrana, which leads to the gardens at the rear.