Once an iron and spice shop, from May it will be a student hostel, and from the end of the year it will also be the visitor centre of the Veszprém Dungeon exhibition – a valuable historic building of Veszprém has been saved. The Ruttner House in Jókai Street, a historic building which was renovated, modernised, and given new functions in 15 months, was inaugurated.
Thanks to the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme, a building that had been neglected and in a dilapidated state for years has been renovated and brought back to life. The renovated Ruttner House, located at 8 Jókai Mór utca, will benefit the city of Veszprém in several ways. It will provide accommodation, especially for young people in secondary schools and school groups, making Veszprém a popular destination for school trips again.
The renovated Ruttner House will also feature a reception area and ticket office in connection with the opening of the Veszprém Dungeon exhibition to be opened by the end of the year, as well as accommodation and a café. On the first floor, six guest rooms can accommodate a total of 33 guests (36 with extra beds).
At the opening ceremony on 10 May, Gyula Porga, Mayor of the City of Veszprém, said that those familiar with Veszprém’s past know that the city enjoyed one of its golden ages after the turn of the century. Under the mayorships of László Komjáthy, and György Szeglethy, the town developed a lot, and the bourgeoisie has strengthened. As a mayor, he thought of this period with pride but also with envy.
Alíz Markovits, the CEO of Veszprém-Balaton 2023 Zrt, recalled that the town used to be one of the favourite destinations for student excursions. Today, unfortunately, it is not among the top ten most popular cities, but with the help of the European Capital of Culture programme and investments such as the Ruttner House, this will certainly change and Veszprém will be “back on the map”. The key to the sustainability of the Ruttner House is that the renovation has given it a function that will serve the people of Veszprém and its visitors in the long run.
The building is associated with ironmonger János Ruttner, who converted the former ground floor house into a U-shaped apartment building in the 1850s. The family lived upstairs, and the ground floor was used as their business premises. As one of the most iconic buildings on the street, it has been under monument protection since 1958, but its renovation has been delayed. Since its sale in 2001, its courtyard surrounded by open corridors, and loggias, its cantilevered gate and its façade ornaments have deteriorated year by year. After a period of neglect – most of the interior doors have disappeared with their casings; the castle wall has been overgrown with trees, the courtyard was inaccessible due to overgrown vegetation – the house has retained its architectural values. A key aspect of the renovation was to fully preserve the romantic styling of the exterior façade, while retaining the neoclassical character of the charming courtyard.