The fascinating building complex of the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma attracts the eye from afar. It’s worth approaching on foot as the upward path offers a singular experience. Hungary’s largest and oldest religious centre has deservedly earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Guests can admire the St. Martin Basilica, the medieval main portal or the cloister connecting the gate with the church. Visitors are undoubtedly most fascinated by the 400,000 volume library: everyone feels the urge to immerse themselves in the pages of the ancient tomes. Taking a few steps never hurts, and the church’s 55-metre tower offers a splendid view.
Sometimes, when you visit Lake Balaton, you should say no to freshwater swimming or try resisting lake-side delicacies, as the area offers countless beautiful and enjoyable sights to visit. One town you should definitely have on your list is Tihany, not just because a few years ago it was chosen as Europe's most beautifully renovated settlement, but also because this is where one of the jewels of the Balaton, the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany, can be found. The Benedictine monastery in Tihany was established in 1055 by King Andrew I of Hungary. It was dedicated to the Holy Virgin and to Saint Bishop Aignan of Orleans. The founding charter of the monastery is the oldest Hungarian document preserved in its original form. King Andrew was buried in the church of the monastery in 1060. His tomb in the crypt of the church is the only grave of a medieval King of Hungary which has been preserved up until now.
Cave Church is literally built into the karst rocks and caves of the Gellert Hill. The church was founded in 1926. It was named Saint Ivan’s Cave after a hermit monk who lived there and was said to have healed many people. The church is not a historical monument but a still functioning church of the Hungarian Paulite Order. The admission fee includes a 7-8 minute long movie about the history of the church and audio guide.
Found at the traditional entrance to the Jewish Quarter is the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest of such buildings in Europe and the second largest in the world. The spectacular synagogue is a popular tourist destination but at the same time it is an important historical memento as well: Dohány Street marked the border of the Ghetto during World War II. There are 1,497 seats for men downstairs and 1,472 for women in the galleries, altogether the seating capacity of the 53 metres long and 26 metres tall building is nearly 3,000 people. The two domed towers are 44 metres tall each. A complementary building in the same style, called the Heroes' Temple, was built next to the synagogue in 1931. It commemorates the Hungarian Jewish victims of World War II. It is also the location of the Jewish Museum which presents an exhibition on the celebrations, traditions, relics of Judaism and about the Holocaust and the Ghetto in Hungary. In Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park we can see the Holocaust memorial named The Tree of Life. It is also the place of the cemetery for those who perished in the Ghetto.
The official title of this church is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Adalbert but the symbol of the city is simply referred to as the Esztergom Basilica. The enormous building standing on the Castle Hill is the largest church in Hungary and the third largest in Europe. The Classicist building has monumental dimensions: it is 118 metres high, 49 metres wide, and its dome is 71,5 metres high in the inside. Its tympanum is supported by eight 22 metres tall columns and the gigantic building rests on 17 metres thick walls. The Basilica housed the Cathedral Treasury which is the largest ecclesiastical treasury in Hungary.
The Church of Our Lady, better known as Matthias Church looks back on an exceptionally long history and is the second best known church of Budapest after St. Stephen's Basilica. It was built in 1015, shortly after the country's conversion to the Christian faith. Thanks to its latest reconstruction between 2006-2013, it now stands in its old glory again. The building is a great example of Central-European Gothic style. Its facade is adorned with rich ornamentation, sculptures and reliefs. The interior is dominated by wood, gold and painted walls. Since summer 2015, the first time in the building's history, the Bell Tower can be visited by anyone. 197 steps lead up to the 47 metres high balcony but for the breathtaking panorama these are steps definitely worth taking.
The St. Stephen’s Basilica, named after the first Hungarian king, is the most important religious centre in Hungary. With its 96 metres height, it is the third largest building in Hungary. It has a floorspace of 4,147 m2 a length of 86 metres, a width of 55 metres, its towers are 80 metres tall each, the inner height of the dome is 65 metres and the interior can hold up to 8,000 people. The Basilica is the official home of the mummified Holy Right Hand of St. Stephen. The Treasury houses an exhibition where visitors can see items from the long construction of the building, a piece of embroidery by Empress Elisabeth of Austria and the complete bequest of Archbishop József Mindszenty.