Some former castles in Somogy county give a home to schools, social care homes and hotels; however, most of them are empty. Estimates suggest that 200 castles and mansions can be found in the county – some of these are privately owned, the state or the local municipality owns the other half.
Norbert Péter Kiss – archivist of the Hungarian National Archives of Somogy County – has been dealing with the history of the castles for years. Most of the documents are from the 1940s; earlier, these castles had been privately owned, while family records are rarely included in the archives.
One of the most outstanding proprietaries in the county was Somssich family, along with the noble families of Széchenyi and Zichy.
Today, many castles are used for teaching. In Iharosberény, Somogyvár, Hetes and Balatonszemes, schools were established in the old buildings. In Mosdós, Segesd, Marcali, Tab, Vótapuszta and Gyöngyöpuszta, the former mansions are working as medical institutions.
According to sonline.hu, few castles have become state-owned, which is a disadvantageous situation as they could not be used effectively, while their conditions worsened by the passage of time.
Later on, some of the buildings were used for touristic purposes – the first castle hotel was opened in Gálosfa, but it did not work for a long time. However, they can be discovered in more settlements, including Kutas-Kozmapuszta, Felsőmocsolád and Viszed.
According to the archivist –
“There are some buildings which are in deplorable condition. Maár Castle at Kercseliget, Somssich Castle at Mike, Széchenyi Castle in Somogytarnóc, and Kremsier Castle are also in need of renovation. These buildings are in foreign hands; therefore, it is difficult to reach the owners. Unfortunately, several castles and mansions are no longer available.”
One of the most outstanding examples is Inkey Castle in Iharos, which was blown up at the end of the 1970s due to watery mushrooms that covered the whole building – said the archivist.
About half of Somogy Castles are under monument protection.
Strict rules control their renovation and reconstruction. According to Péter Norbert Kiss, it would be worthwhile to fix the old buildings; however, their function should be determined first.