Entrance to Wenckheim Palace Park (car park)
After parking in the car park, you can enter the Palace Park on foot.
The designer of the 1870s English landscape park is unclear, although the commissioners of construction, Frigyes and Krisztina Wenckheim, were close friends with the comital family Bolza of Szarvas, whose famous park (now the Szarvas Arboretum, also known as the Pepi Garden) served as a model for the gardens in Ókígyós. József Bolza, or Count Pepi, as he was better known to his contemporaries, was a frequent visitor to Wenckheim Palace. It is very likely that there was a lively exchange of experiences and possibly plants with the creators of the “Pepi Garden” in Szarvas. Given that the palace was designed by the renowned architect of the time, Miklós Ybl, the designer of the park must have been an expert in cutting-edge garden design.
Since Wenckheim Palace Park was designed in the historicist style, no significant alterations had been made to it until the 1930s. The only modifications were the construction of certain “amenities” and the planting of flowers in the ornamental geometric garden area in front of the palace, known as the ‘pleasure ground’. Frigyes Wenckheim and his wife, Krisztina, had seven children, for the amusement of whom they built a playground and doll’s house, and later a ‘mini-zoo’. The zoo’s inhabitants may have included horses, ornamental pheasants, peacocks, dogs, goats, and cats, and a monkey house was built to care for three chimpanzees.
Later, as the children’s children became guests of the palace, new fashionable play areas appeared in the park: a swimming pool, a polo pitch, an “equine swimming” pool, a tennis and gymnastics court, and even an aeroplane runway with a hangar near the park.
The primary sources indicating the former layout of the park are the cadastral map of 1883 and its preliminary sketch, which depict the system of garden paths, the distribution of artificial openings, clearances, groups of trees, flower beds, and the pheasant grove in great detail. This also demonstrates the layout of the boating lake with its islands and iron arch bridge, as well as the garden structures (gatehouses, gas house/ice cellar). Also pictured is the pleasure ground, with the fountain in the centre.