Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment
Inscribed on the World Heritage List: 1996
The building complex of the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma emerges above the Pannonian landscape of Western Hungary like a sign on the hill once called the “Sacred Hill of Pannonia” (Mons Sacer Pannoniae).
The Benedictine Monastery, founded in the year of 996 in the honour of Saint Martin of Tours, is as old as the Hungarian State.
As Prince Géza, its founder had intended, the Monastery became one of the eastern strongholds of medieval European culture, playing a crucial role in the propagation of Christianity in Central Europe. The Archabbey of Pannonhalma fits into its natural environment and reflects the evolution of the Benedictine order for a thousand years. The natural and manmade environment are entwined in the characteristic situation of the Monastery: its unique structure and relationship to the landscape. This harmony has been typical for the Benedictine abbeys since the foundation of the Benedictine order. The monastic order, still governed by Saint Benedict's Regula (“Rule”) and the “Ora et labora!” (“Pray and work!”) principle, has kept up one of the centres of Benedictine culture with unique continuity. The Archabbey of Pannonhalma is a well preserved example of the classical monastery structure following the Benedictine tradition in Hungary which has remained more or less intact over the centuries. The complex consisting of the Abbey buildings, the Basilica, the buildings of education, the Chapel of Our Lady and the Millennium Chapel conveying messages of centuries represent a unique variety.
The Basilica, built upon the 11th century Romanesque and Gothic crypt, was enriched with late Gothic, Renaissance and neo-Gothic features. The Basilica of Pannonhalma, built as a monastic church for the Benedictine order, is still used by the monks who live here. During its reconstruction, carried out in 2011 and 2012, the liturgical and theological needs of the monastic community were taken as a guiding principle for the renewal of the spatial structure in order to ensure that the monastic lifestyle following St. Benedict for one and a half thousand years may continue to be nourished in silence and with prayer. The church and the cloister on the southern side are connected by the Porta Speciosa (the main entrance to the church on the south) of exquisite beauty.
The chapter room must have been in the eastern wing next to the cloister, with the refectory (dining room) on the Southern side, adjacent to the warming room (as living quarters in medieval monasteries were not heated). The western wing housed workshops and writing rooms (scriptoria), with sleeping quarters on the upper floor. Out of the Baroque parts of the Monastery, the most notable is the dining room. The Classicist tower and library were built over the first decades of the 19th century, while the block of the grammar school and student dorm (the so-called “Italian” grammar school) were added in the 20th century.
The significance of the Abbey is further enhanced by its rich collections of art and science. Its library of outstanding value consists of more than 300,000 volumes; the most famous item of the Abbey Archives containing many valuable documents is the oldest Hungarian (and oldest Finno-Ugric) linguistic document, the deed of foundation of the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany from the year 1055 A.C..
The monastery's gallery of pictures and engravings, numismatic collection, antiquities and treasury are also remarkable. The herbal medicinal garden is an organic part of the abbey estate, along with an extensive lavender field, a house of medicinal herbs with a lavender distillery, tea house and biomass heating plant. The arboretum contains several hundred extraordinary species of trees and shrubs.
In addition to one of the most important present day activities of the monastic order, the education and teaching of young people, the cultivation of abbey land is also significant. The recreation of the viticulture and oenological traditions of the abbey on its old land started with vine plantation, and continued with the development of a new cellar and wine house that can be visited by tourists. The new visitor centre and tourist facilities (restaurant and wine-house, and a pilgrim house), as well as the wine cellar were built in the puritan style of contemporary architecture, testifying to the ability of the monastic community to constantly renew itself.
World Heritage Management Body: Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma
Site manager: Dr. Asztrik Várszegi OSB - Abbot, Bishop
Contact: Dr. Ákos Pottyondy - Representative of the Abbot
Address: 9090 Pannonhalma Vár utca 1. Hungary
Telephone: +36 96 570 100, + 36 96 570 133
Fax: +36 96 570 116
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Web site: http://bences.hu