The English garden in Tata was constructed in 1783 and was intended to be a palace park for the Esterházy family. Unfortunately, their residence itself lies two lakes further on the other side of the town, so this garden was somewhat out of reach. This fact caused some discomfort which was solved in the typical Hungarian way of generous extravagance: instead of setting up a park near the palace, they had a new summer residence built in the far away park. English gardens were considered to be modern and fashionable right back then, and since we had the deep desire to keep up with European standards (which desire we’ve already given up since then), it was clear it must be an English garden with all its accessories. So what do you need for a well-equipped English garden?
- Plants. And high trees. Plenty of them. Check.
- Some water, preferably a lake and/or fountains. Check. Both. Unfortunately, the fountains do not work anymore, but honestly, what is still working in Hungary? You see.
- Cute bridges over said water. Check.
- Ducks. Check.
- A greenhouse with exotic plants. Check.
- Some ruins. If you do not have any ruins, don’t give up. You can build your own. From parts of original ruins situated somewhere else. The result will be somewhat eclectic in style but very romantic. So, ruins, check.
- The same with caves. If you don’t have them, build them. Check.
- Religious place where you can worship God(s)/Mother Nature/Goddess Diana. Or in this case, Allah. Hungary was part of the Ottoman Empire for more than 150 years and those years didn’t pass without a trace. We got used to the Turks and their exotic ways (and their coffee. Definitely their coffee). We got mixed with them. They took our women for their harems and our children for their army. They grew to love us and, according to my Turkish friends, they still do love us. It’s an unrequited love though, because we Hungarians never ever value anybody else but ourselves. That’s what makes us the sympathetic and friendly people we are. Haha. But we still want to show that we are a hospitable nation and that Turks are always welcomed at their former residence country. That’s why we built a mosque. But it’s also important to show that they are supposed to stay only for short periods. Definitely not for another 150 years. And only in manageable amounts. That’s why we built said mosque so small that only five people fit in it if their rugs are spread on the floor. And that’s also why we keep this mosque closed all the time so that even those five people can’t have access to it. I’ve told you that we are a nice, hospitable nation.
Anyway, the English garden is beautiful even without an insight into Hungarian history.