Founded by Prince Géza, the Benedictine monastery is one of the country’s most precious memorial sites, a center of ecclesiastical and art history, and a World Heritage Site since 1996. The monks living here are also engaged in education, winemaking, maintaining a herb garden and receiving guests.
The history of the archabbey dates back more than a thousand years, according to legend, the triple mountain was the birthplace of St. Martin (bishop of Tours in the IV century). The area was an important wine-growing region of the province of Pannonia in Roman times. According to legends, this is also where the conquest ended – it was on these hills that the leader Árpád rested after his victory over the Moravian ruler Svatopluk. That is why prince Géza’s choice may have fallen on a hill near the present border. With monks invited from the Principality of Bohemia, he founded a monastery in present-day Pannonhalma in 996, making the place the most important monument of the symbolic opening to the West and Christianity. His son, St. Stephen, endowed the abbey with additional donations and powers, which then functioned for a thousand years as the outstanding spiritual and cultural center of the country. Pannonhalma was able to maintain its continuum through the storms of Hungarian history for more than a thousand years, despite the fact that they had to flee several times in the era of the Turkish occupation, and during the Enlightenment, the reign of Alexander II had to flee. Joseph dissolved the order for a time. When it was reorganized in 1802, the priority they received from the monarch became education, which they continue to this day in the boarding gymnasium.
As part of its centuries-old cultural mission, the order now has a rich collection of arts and sciences, its library is the largest Benedictine collection in the world, and the founding letter of the Abbey of Tihany in 1055, which is the oldest scattered monument in the Hungarian language, is preserved in the Archdiocese Archives.
Its architectural historical significance is also outstanding: in Hungary, it is the only surviving example of a cloistered monastery architecture following the classical Benedictine tradition. It also harmoniously blends many of the outstanding architectural styles of the last millennium – in addition to the earliest buildings built in the Romanesque style (such as the cloister and the sub-church), there is a significant Gothic basilica, as well as baroque and neoclassical details.
The monastery, which today has a monastic community of about forty people, now belongs again to a larger vineyard and winery dating back to Roman traditions. In addition, the monks are engaged in the production of various essences, spirits and products made from medicinal plants at an outstanding level – no wonder that high-quality products are becoming more and more popular. The thousand-year-old Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma and its natural environment have been classified as landscape protection since the 1960s, and today it is also under monument protection.