A 1000-year-old monastery of Pannonhalma

Vivi Bencze | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Coming to Hungary as a tourist, a 1000-year-old-monastery of Pannonhalma is an unmissable feature. Regardless of whether you are after historic, artistic or cultural treasures when exploring a country, this monumental herald of past times will provide almost every aspect of the beauty of travelling. An ecclesiastical complex in question consists of a historic monastery and a basilica, of which present shape was finalised in 1224, according to a royal diploma. As the monastery itself was founded even earlier, in 996, it’s not surprising at all that beyond being one of the main tourist attractions in the Central European country, the abbey is held in really high esteem by the Hungarian people.

A still-operating abbey

For the record, the monastery is not only a touristic spot, that can be visited for its walls that witnessed 1000 years of history, but it is a still-operating abbey, where a practicing community of roughly 40 abbots live. What’s more, they even maintain the vast edifice and take care of their own livelihood. Naturally, their main purpose is the constant service of God. However, there are plenty more of their merits that are worth mentioning. This relatively minor community, with considerable external help, looks after the reputation of the monastery as a tourist attraction, while it also operates a winery, a lavender farm, a restaurant and one of the most magnificent libraries that possesses a whopping quantity of 400 000 books.

© Photo credits to global.oup.com

The oldest written memory

In the abbey’s separated archives, even the memorandum of association of the Tihany Abbey can be found, which is the very oldest written memory of Hungary that besides Latin, contains even Hungarian words. It was written by the command of the Hungarian king, Andrew I in 1055, and it contains the properties and holdings of the Tihany Abbey. In the memorandum of association, there are 58 Hungarian words alltogether, and it has managed to remain in its original form until this very day.

Pannonhalma, by the way, is situated in Western Transdanubia, halfway between Budapest and Vienna. After you visit the winter fairytale of the former and the imperial flair of the latter one, I really suggest you travel here to see this representative of Europe’s oldest buildings. The 1000-year-old monastery of Pannonhalma offers guided tours both in the English and German languages, so it’s assured you will not miss any information, that I might not have brought up this time. 

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