Pannonhalma Archabbey

Pannonhalma Archabbey

Pannonhalma Archabbey Vár, Hungary/The first Benedictine monks settled here in 996. They went on to convert the Hungarians, to found the country's first school and, in 1055, to write the first document in Hungarian. From the time of its founding, this monastic community has promoted culture throughout central Europe. Its 1,000-year history can be seen in the succession of architectural styles of the monastic buildings (the oldest dating from 1224), which still today house a school and the monastic community.The monastery of the Benedictine Order at Pannonhalma, founded in 996 and gently dominating the Pannonian landscape in western Hungary, had a major role in the diffusion of Christianity in medieval Central Europe. The Archabbey of Pannonhalma and its environment (the monastic complex, the Basilica, educational buildings, the Chapel of Our Lady, the Millennium Chapel, the botanical and herbal gardens) outstandingly exemplifies the characteristic location, landscape connections, original structure, design and a thousand year history of a Benedictine monastery. The community of monks still functions today on the basis of the Rule of St. Benedict, and sustains with a unique continuity one of the living centres of European culture.The present church, the building of which began in 1224, is the third on the site; it contains remains of its predecessors. The elevated three-aisled choir, the oldest part of the building, overlies a similarly three-aisled crypt, probably an element of the earlier church on the site.The main south door, known as the Porta Speciosa, is faced with red marble and flanked by five pairs of columns. It has undergone several transformations and reconstructions since it was originally built in the 13th century. This door gives access to the Cloister, a typical square Late Gothic ensemble built in 1486. The vaulting springs form consoles that are elaborately decorated with symbolic motifs. The doors and windows were given their present form in the 1880s. Sculptured stones from the Romanesque cloister were found during studies carried out in the 1960s, when the door leading into the medieval refectory, with small red marble columns, also came to light.The large Refectory, the work of the Carmelite Martin Witwer in 1724-27, is an oblong two-storeyed hall. The facade is surmounted by a triangular pediment. The building contains a series of mural paintings by Antonio Fossati. The main Monastery consists of a group of buildings dating from the 13th-15th centuries that were originally single-storey but raised to two storeys in 1912, erected in part over the medieval cloister. They were considerably modified in the earlier 18th century: the vaulted corridor and the row of monastic cells on the east-west wing are exceptional examples of 18th century Hungarian monastic architecture. The Library, on four levels, was built in two stages between 1824 and 1835.The Chapel of our Lady, the building of which began in 1714, is situated at the top of the southern hill. It is single-aisled, 26 m by 10.9 m, rising to 5.58 m in the sanctuary. The nave is barrel-vaulted, and is joined to the sanctuary by a large triumphal arch. Its original Baroque interior was restored in Romantic style in 1865. whc.unesco.org

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