Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment, Hungary

A blessed journey

Location (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

Pannonhalma is a small town of only 4,000 inhabitants and can be found in hilly countryside near Hungary's northern border. The landscape is gently dominated by the medieval monastery which is located here. 

A 1,000-year history (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The monastery is the main feature of the World Heritage site, the Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment, which was granted its prestigious World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996.

A National memorial site (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The history of the monastery stretches back more than a thousand years, to when it was founded by Géza, the Grand Prince of the Hungarians at that time, who invited Benedictine monks to settle on the hill overlooking the town. 

Abbey of Pannonhalma (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

Since it was established, in 996, the monastery has functioned as an outstanding spiritual and cultural centre, and has managed to maintain continuity throughout some stormy periods in Hungarian history.

A spiritual and cultural centre (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

One such period was during the Turkish occupation of Hungary in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the monks were forced to flee the monastery on several occasions.

Pannonhalma Abbey Church Tower (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The monastery suffered again when the order of monks was broken up by Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor and sole ruler of the Habsburgs in the late 1700’s.

Decorative door (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

Having reorganised themselves in 1802, the Emperor tasked them with taking an active part in education. The abbey’s boarding school is still in use to this day. 

The Library (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

As part of its centuries-long cultural mission, the order has now amassed a rich artistic and scientific collection.

The Library (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The abbey’s library holds the largest Benedictine collection in the world, and in its archives is the founding charter of the Tihany Abbey from 1055, the oldest known text written in the Hungarian language.

The building complex (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The monastic complex is also outstanding in terms of the history of architecture: it is the only intact remnant of cloistered monastic architecture in the classic Benedictine tradition in Hungary.

Outstanding architectural styles (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The Abbey harmoniously integrates numerous architectural styles from the past millennium – in addition to the oldest sections, which are built in Romanesque style, it also has extensive Baroque and Classicist details, as well as the Gothic basilica.

Porta Speciosa (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The three-storeyed basilica has a 55-metre tower, which offers splendid views of the natural environment of Pannonhalma. The ornate main portal – or porta speciosa, as it is called in Latin – gives access to the Romanesque cloister, which connects the entrance with the church.

The Abbey (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

Along with the basilica and the educational buildings, the property also includes the Chapel of Our Lady and the Millenary Monument, which was erected to commemorate the 1000-year anniversary of the Hungarian conquest in 896.

Community of monks (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

Today, the monastery is home to approximately 40 monks. It has a large vineyard and winery, with traditions stretching back to Roman times when the area was a key wine-producing region of Pannonia province.

Botanical garden (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

In the complex’s forest and botanical gardens are a number of rare and exotic protected floral species, as well as many species of trees and plants, both native and exotic, which the monks use to produce various herbal extracts and essences, and Trappist beer.

Birthplace of St. Martin (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

The Abbey of Pannonhalma and its environment outstandingly illustrates the characteristic location, landscape connections, original structure, design and history of a Benedictine monastery which has evolved over a thousand years of use.

Natural landscape surrounding (1996) by Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural EnvironmentUNESCO World Heritage

As the first Benedictine monastery in Hungary, it bears special witness to the promotion of culture and the diffusion of Christianity throughout central Europe, whilst being a vibrant religious centre which is still in operation today.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the Hungarian Tourism Agency: visithungary.com
 
More on the Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment and World Heritage: whc.unesco.org/en/list/758/

Photos: Hungarian Tourism Agency, Zairon

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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