Europe

Pannonhalma Abbey, Hungary

Today we travel to a small town in western Hungary. There is one of the most visited tourist destinations in this nation, Pannonhalma Abbey.

This complex, administered by Benedictine monks, offers tourists the chance to walk through its church, cloister and large library. In addition to its historical and cultural touch, the abbey is located in a natural setting worthy of being photographed. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is one of the most important buildings in the country.

The origin of Pannonhalma Abbey

The abbey was founded by Prince Géza in the year 996. This was built on a hill, on land formerly known as Pannonia, and was consecrated by Saint Martin of Tours. Pannonhalma Abbey was one of the first and most important religious centers of the Benedictine monks in Hungary.

The works were completed by the first King of Hungary who also donated the land to the monks of the abbey. However, in the year 1137 it was almost completely destroyed. It would not be rebuilt again until the arrival of Abad Abbot Uros, so it was completely reformed in the year 1242.

The area remained the property of the monks for almost a century. In fact, the current cloister was built in 1486, in a Gothic style. Already in the 17th century, the Turks forced the monks to leave the abbey until the year 1639.

History continued to put the abbey to the test when in 1786, Joseph II of Austria ordered the dissolution of the Benedictine order and the closing of the doors of the place.. A few years would have to pass again, specifically until 1802, so that the monks could reopen the doors of the abbey in exchange for them dedicating themselves to teaching.

Finally, the building, controlled by the Benedictine monks, became a large center for higher studies. In addition, during World War II it was protected by the Red Cross to preserve teaching. It has currently been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

A visit to Pannonhalma Abbey

The first thing that will make us feel that we have reached our destination will be the tall trees that line the path that leads to the abbey. When we are at the foot of this beautiful building we will think we are in front of an old fortress; a well-preserved stone wall almost completely surrounds the place.

After crossing the entrance door we will go up some stairs that will take us to the central patio. From here we will be fully aware of the size of the abbey. In addition, from we can see the entrance to the church and, to its left, the library.

Inside, each part of the building is decorated with details typical of Hungarian architecture. In fact, to enter the church we will have to cross a carved bronze gate where several mosaics narrate part of the country’s history. Inside the church we can enjoy the colorful frescoes, an exquisite organ and stained glass windows typical of the Gothic style.

After passing through the church, the visit continues in the cloister, where the mosaics and its decorated columns also stand out. As with the church, the cloister is also decorated with brightly colored stained glass windows that offer unique lighting to the place.

We can also walk through the library, neoclassical style, which has no less than more than 400,000 books and where some of the oldest in the country are located. Right at the entrance we will be greeted by the statue of King Szent Isván. At the end of it we will find a fresco that immortalizes many of the great Greek thinkers.

To finish, we can stop by a small exhibition of objects or enjoy the views offered by the hill where the Benedictine monks cultivate the land of their vineyards and gardens.

Useful information during the visit

The town of Pannonhalma, where the homonymous abbey is located, is only half an hour from Györ. Although we can go by car, many tourists use the bus as a means of transport from Gÿor due to its proximity to Budapest.

The ticket price is €3 and a half and includes an audio guide in Spanish. In addition, at the same entrance they will give us a complete map of the abbey where we will also find some information.

In the same way, We recommend spending at least half a morning visiting the place and later, if we have time, stop in the town to learn more about the culture and try some of its traditional dishes. What’s more, next to the abbey there is a restaurant where we can sometimes taste the wine created by the monks.

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