One of the most important memorials in Gyenesdiás, saved for us by Dr Béla Darnay, the polyhistor
The unique wine cellar was built in 1644. Now it is a small museum and there is a wine taproom, too. The cellar displays all the utensils used for making wine. By making a previous appointment, you can also take part in a wine tasting event.
Dr Béla Darnay (Dornyai) (Keszthely, 1887 Budapest, 1965), museologist
Offspring of a fisher family in Keszthely. In his early years, he becomes an orphan. He is brought up in Tata, he does the lower classes of the high school there, then the upper classes in Keszthely. He makes the high school graduate in 1905. At the teacher’s training college of the Piarist Order in Budapest he studies theology, geography and history (1906-1909), and then he makes his teaching diploma in history and geography (1910) and gets the diploma PhD in geology (1913). Meanwhile, he is taken holy orders in 1910. He begins to work as a geologist. He is a museum guard at the Piarist Order in Rózsahegy and in Veszprém, then in Magyaróvar. In 1921 he discharges himself from the Piarist Order. He gets a researcher job in Budapest at the Ampeologist Institute, then at the State Mycologic Station. From 1923 until 1939 he teaches in Salgótarján, then he returns to his homeland. From 1940 he is part of the team of the Balaton Museum, and shortly he becomes its director (1941-1948). Since his pension is taken back (1949), he starts to work at the Hungarian State Geologic Institute as a geologist (1952-1954). He is rehabilitated in 1963.
His wide range of interest is shown in his scientific publications and in his enthusiasm for establishing a museum. As a pedagogue he pushes the demonstrative tuition very much, this way of thinking leads him in his work of the museum establishing.
As a polyhistor researcher, he deals with geology, hydrology, spelaeology, botanic, monument research and monument protection. He does an expansive propagative job, he writes monographs of local history. Guidebooks and other works about the Bakony, Highlands of the Balaton, Salgótarján and its surroundings are outstanding. As the director of the Keszthely Museum, he publishes museum gazettes, for short announcements he starts the Balaton Museum Leaflets series. At every station of his life, he dealt with museum organising and set up collections.
More than 400 tractates, articles and books, the harvest of his life, also confirm his commitment to his slogan: “Patriotism through knowing your home”. In 1964 he gets the honorary citizenship of Tata and in the same year, he receives the golden diploma from the Eötvös Loránd University at the anniversary of his pedagogical work. Salgótarján city names a lookout tower, a tourist house, a school and a sports club to the memory of him. In Gyenesdiás the Wine Museum keeps his name. His painted portrait is placed among the renowned people in the parish hall pantheon. The work started by him has been done, too, the Monograph of Gyenesdiás Civil Paris has been published in more volumes. In the Keszthely Mountains, there is a signed walking path named after him. The foundation and the homeland club- named also after him- take care of the folk architecture, the monument and land protection. He had great respect for his distant kinsman, Kalman Darnay, the founder of the Sümeg Museum, whose heritage he took forward.
At the age of 78, he was put to eternal peace in the family crypt in the Keszthely Saint Nicholas cemetery.
“The Balaton loving scientist is resting there at the shore of the large lake.”
Darnay Wine Museum
The wise researcher of the natural rarities and the human creations of the Lake Balaton and the Bakony Mountains, dr Bela Dornyay inherited an old wine cellar in Gyenesdiás after the first world war. The low, lopsided, old-fashioned building would have been demolished by anyone else. Though the well-educated dr Dornyay saw culture-historical and ethnical treasures in the old cellar, and he got it to its original condition restored. He noticed the cellar was built from wood with no single piece of iron as now no building is made either at the Lake Balaton or in the whole country.
The cellar is made with really thick boards, so-called harrow wood; its door is also a harrow door which turns on a wooden tongue and can be fastened with a wooden lock; on the giant fluted summer beam the following lettering-graven with larkspur pipe- turned up after rubbing the whitewash coat off:
Anno Domini 1644 Jesus Hominum Salvator
Dr Dornyay appointed, this almost three hundred years old building, one of the typical and well maintained once popular wooden cellars, could have been standing single for good two hundred years. Then in 1852, a press house with an open fireplace and with no attic was built on one southern corner. In 1922 the press house was re-built. Many large Roman adobe shingle mammocks and Roman pot snippets came out which means that time a lot of Roman chippings could lay all over on the wine yards of Dias. Between 1993 and 2009 the Turks aged cellar and press house got into neglected condition, and then in 2012 the building already owned by the council could be renewed by a tender thanks to the city council of Gyenesdiás and the Springwater Nature-lover Association. Today it hosts an exhibition place and wine tasting, too.
For programmes, wine tasting info, please click here.