Oliva Restaurant and Hotel is located in a remarkable area of Veszprém. Buhim Street runs down through a narrow valley into the wider Buhim Valley, at the bottom of which the winding Séd Brook can be seen.
Buhim Valley, from which our street acquired its name, has a mysterious name. The most probable meaning of the word is that of a valley, abyss, steep or defile, which can be suitable for hiding.
From as early as the 1800s, artisans and craftsmen used to live in Buhim and its surrounding areas. Among which were felt makers, sheepskin tanners, wooden gourd makers and other craftsmen. It can’t be by chance that the lovely 26 step stairway alley leading down from Óváros Square to Buhim Street became known as the Beer House stairs.
Thanks to the craftsmen census of 1884 – held in the Town Archives – we now know that among the owners of the 25 houses in this street, there were 4 shoemakers, 2 umbrella makers, 1 tinker, comb maker, barrel maker, glove maker, stage-coachman, haberdasher, grocer and an innkeeper. The building found on 14 Buhim Street, our restaurant, is entered in the census of 1849 of the Town Archives as having been two flats, one belonging to a widow named Mrs Jakab Heckel and the other to János Kisczeli and his wife. At the time, János Kisczeli worked as a “kódisbíró” (someone who was responsible for the organisation of beggars and ensuring they all had a permit to beg) and among his neighbours was a lathe man and a soap maker. Based on the town census taken in about 1898, the house belonged to Rezső Policsek. The house had 2 rooms overlooking the street and another 2 rooms overlooking the garden, as well as 2 kitchens. By 1926, the house belonged to Policsek’s widow and from 1938 to 1940 this dwelling house belonged to Imre Bukor.
The history of the house following the war can mostly be reconstructed based on the elder neighbours’ accounts. After the Policsek family, Ferenc Bukor and his family lived in the house. Ferenc Bukor made his living by trading the spice, paprika. His daughter, Gizella Bukor who met an early death used to work as a teacher. Gizella and her husband József Korpácsi lived in house number 12 in the street that was now renamed Vöröscsillag (“Red Star”) following the war. At the end of the 60s, János Pusztai and his wife, Irénke bought the house and at first they ran a knitting workshop in the house. From the end of the 70s they ran a restaurant called Pusztai, which might well have been the most delightful one found in Veszprém during the 70s and 80s. Its garden, white-washed closed walls and live music at the weekends was popular among actors, actresses, lawyers and locals.
The house at 14 Buhim Street – then called Vörös Csillag (Red Star) Street from 1950 to 1989 – might well have been the most beautiful and oldest dwelling house in the street. Although there are no written documents concerning the construction of the house, it is presumed to have been built in the 1780s. It is a row house which is clearly a single-storey Baroque building and was constructed with principle facade.
The house has been uninhabited since 1991 even though it was sold and bought several times, it became an abandoned, several hundred year old, impressive Baroque ruin by the mid-90s.
In ’97, a new change in ownership resulted in the awakening the house: following two years of preparation and planning, the refurbishment, rebuilding and reconstruction of the building started on 15 October 1999. The dwelling house at 16 Buhim Street, the parking place above it in Thököly Street and finally the dwelling house at 18 Buhim Street all were attached to the original house, making Oliva Restaurant and Hotel now a 2200 square metre complex.
After a long period of pondering, the new owner chose the name Oliva. The name refers to the Mediterranean influence permeating the interior design and atmosphere of the house and its patio-like garden.
The building underwent a full renovation and interior reconstruction in 2000. However the traditional style was kept by using the traditional style windows with mullions and by restoring the roof covering, which matches the building. The beautiful Baroque wooden gate with folk art was also restored. All this ensured the long-term maintenance of the architectural value of the house.
The refurbishment and reconstruction work carried out on the house was implemented by the owner: Oliva 2004. Kft. József Kovács from Veszprém was the architect, the interior design of the house and the garden were carried out by Tibor Jack. The designing architect of the building at 18 Buhim Street –now housing the 20-room hotel that was later attached to the complex – was Mrs Gabriella Albóczi Ábrahám, while the interior design is the work of Csilla Kelemen and Tünde Mészáros.
The local data and the data concerning the history of the building were researched by the Veszprém County Archives. We would like to express our thanks to Balázs Somfai for this valuable information.