History of Tihany
Balaton, the largest shallow lake in Central Europe, was formed by tectonic sagging around 25,000 years ago. Tihanyi-félsziget (Tihany peninsula) divides the lake into two basins. The characteristic view of the Mediterranean landscape was formed by volcanic europtions millions
of year ago as shown today by two giant calderas. The remains of these craters form two little lakes, without outlet, higher than the water level of Balaton: Belső-tó, which is popular with anglers, and Külső-tó, a paradise for aquatic birds.
As a result of volcanic follow-up activity, thermal springs created more than one hundred geyser hills in the peninsula. The most beautiful one is called Aranyház (Golden House) after the golden lichen covering its rocks.
Beside geological features, the peninsula is famous for its exceptional wildlife: the area became the first nature reserve of Hungary in 1952. The archaeological findings of the area show that the peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. People of the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Roman Age liked this place. The Romans called Balaton Lacus Pelso and had a ford at Tihany.
The ancient Tihany village was founded in the Middle Ages when King Andrew I founded
here in 1055 a burial- place for the royal family and built a monastery, where Benedictine
monks were settled. The Abbey of Tihany was authorised in the 13th century to issue
official deeds (locus authenticus). During the Turkish times, in the 16-17th century,
the monasetry, wich had been
transformed into a fortress, was demolished. It was rebuilt in baroque style in the 18th century and became a symbol of Tihany. A few years ago, the Benedictine monks were again put in
charge of the monasetry and the Abbey Museum.
Tihany is a jewel of not only the Balaton but also Hungary. Since the nineteen sixties masses of tourists, both Hungarians and foreigners, have been visiting the place. Its main assets are the historical and cultural relics related to the monasetry, the unique landscape and the recreational possibilities of Balaton.
1. Ancient fortification
The oval entrenchment system of the hill called Óvár, the largest and relatively well-preserved earthwork of the Balaton region, was built around the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. It was a princely residence and provided shelter for the people in times of war.
A several meter high knoll was built of limestonc and carth over the graves of the princes of the carthwork in the southern hillside next to the present graveyard. A part of the knollgraves were dug up in the early seventies: potsherds, bronze jewellery and charred grains of wheat were found in the cremation graves.
3. Hermit\\\'s place
In the eastern slope of Óvár, Greek Orthodox hermits hollowed out their cells, a chapel and a dining room from the rocks in the 11th-14th century. This is the only hermits\\\' place which is a relatively well-preserved in the Carpathian Basin and even in Central Europe. Its local name is Barátlakások (Friar habitations). Not far from here, you can find the Ciprián spring, previously called Russian fountain, which is the only spring of Tihany.
The most beautiful 20th century calvary of the country was built within a few years time, beginning in 1926, from public contributions. The stones with inscription and bronze relief symbolising the suffering of Christ and the Way of the Cross were raised on behalf of the historic counties and royal boroughs of Hungary. The stone cross of Christ, in the background, there are three knolls built of limestone blocks and the bronze memorial of Hungarian King Charles IV.
The structures of the Calvary were demolished in 1960.
Foundation-stone for the Calvary (Stations of the Cross) to be rebuilt was laid in a ceremony March 28, 1992. Work started in the year 1998, then on October 15, 2000 the by then finished three Station pillars and the temporarily erected three wooden crosses were inaugurated. The Károly IV Calvary Foundation still gladly accepts donations.
Records from the early 19th century say that words shouted from the Echo hill return from the northern wall of the church building. The earliest Balaton guide-book, issued in 1848, says that guests in Füred take excursions to Tihany to listen to the echo because the church wall cleary returns voices up to 15 syllables. The Echo of Tihany, a topic covered by famous poets, has been gradually fading since the sixties but it can be still enjoyed especially in windless, quiet evenings.
6. The church building and its neighbourhood
King Andrew I. founded a monasetry and a royal burial-place in Tihany in 1055, in accordance with the tradition of Christian monarchs. Monastery life ceased in the middle of the fifteen hundreds when the building was transformed into a fortress against the Turks, who never occupied it. The fortress, of which no detailed plans have remained, was demolished in the Kuruts times in the 17th century. The walking way between the Echo hill and the church is named after Castellan István Pisky. The Pannonhalma Arch-Abbacy got hold of the monastery and the property of the Tihany Abbey in 1716. The present buildings were completed in 1754. From Piski walking way, there is nice view on the most beautiful harbour of Balaton and the mole built according to the design of Dezső Nagy Káli between 1909 and 1911.
7. Pale hill
The name Nyársas-hegy, which is located next to the place where a fortress stood in the Middle Ages, goes back to the times when the soldiers of the fortress impaled the turks who abducted Hungarian women and screwed the peasantry.
8. Gallows hill
In 1714, King Sigismund granted jus gladii, power of life and death, to the Abbey to arrest, convict and execute malefactors. This was the spot where the gallows pole was erected. Akasztó-domb was also a place of special fishing method, practised only in Tihany. One of the fishermen called \\\'hill walker\\\' climbed up to the top of the hill, followed the movements of the pelecus (\\\'watched fish\\\') shoal and gave instructions to the fishermen waiting in the boat to lay the net.
9. Church ruins at Ujlak
The ruins of the church – the sanctuary wall still stands – are located at the southern part of the peninsula. They keep the memory of an ancient ferry village.
10. Church ruins at Apáti
Two of the three settlements of Tihany peninsula, Ujlak and Apáti, were demolished in the Turkish times and only the church ruins remained. The church ruins at Apáti are located at the northern part of the peninsula. The rebuilt church dates back to the 12nd-13th century.
1. Baroque church and convent of the Benedictine Abbey
The baroque church, built under supervision of abbot Ágoston Lécs, is 46m long, 16m wide and has two towers of 34.5m height which puts it among the medium-sized churches of Hungary. Its interior decoration was constructed by wood-carver and cabinet-maker Sebastion Stulhoff between 1754 and 1779.
The furnishings and the gilded wooden sculptures are excellent pieces of the Central European baroque art, just as the frescos painted by Károly Lotz, Bertalan Székely, Lajos Deák-Ébner during the restoration works in 1889-1890. The interior was fully restored by 1996, after the church was returned to the Benedictine Abbey in 1994.
The inner restoration of the church (frescos, altars, etc.) began 1992 and ended four years later. 1996 marks the start of an all-around restoration of the monastery.
The friary, built simultaneously with the church, houses the Benedictine Abbey
Museum. The single-storey square building connects to the south wall of the church,
its wings encompassing a square inner court. Between October 26-31, 1921 the friary
also gave home to the last monarch of
Hungary, King Karl Habsburg 4th and Queen Zita when they were interned to the premises of the abbey by the Entente Powers prior to being exiled to the Island of Madeira.
The abbey celebrated its 950th jubilee in 2005. It is host to concerts in the summer
and exhibitions and cultural programs over the rest of the year. The museum regularly
2. Crypt of King Andrew I
The roman hall crypt, which was built by King Andrew I. at the time when the monasetry was
founded in 1055, is the only original royal burial place in Hungary that remained intact. Here lies the king, who died in 1060. Guards a copy of the deed of foundation for the abbey, which is also our earliest linguistic relic.
3. Calvinist church, belfry
The Calvinist church, built in 1793, is a simple building with a square groundplan. The belfry,
standing on four white columns and covered with shingle, is located west of the church building.
4. Former wine cellar and press-house of the Abbey
Vine growing around Balaton dates back to Roman times. Tihany became significant winedistrict
at the time of the foundation of the monasetry. The cellar with a unique double cross groundplan and the classicist press-house were built at the northern shore of Belső-tó in 1822 for processing and storing the vine grown in the property of the Abbey. The cellar has excellent wine also today.
5. Former granary of the Abbey
The granary built in the 19th century is the largest building of the village. It was two storeys, it is rough-casted and divided by white ribbons and window-frames according to the local tradition. Presently it serves as community centre. This renovated building now serves as the town\\\'s community center.
6. Former inn of the Abbey
The inn built in the early 19th century played an important role in the community life of the village. It was recently rebuilt and Fogas Csárda is very popular with tourists also today.
7. Former house of the physician of the Abbey
The present post office building used to be the dwelling house of the physician of the Abbey. The single-storey building was built in simplified neo-classic style in the 19th century with 1-3-1 window-arrangement. Four massive pillars give relief to the three windows in the middle.
8. Former Hotel Sport
Hotel Sport, which was built in 1923. Regrettably, the once fairest building of the spa now stands forlorn. A well tended and shady park surrounds it.
9. Former farmstead of the Abbey
In the property of the Tihany Abbey, allodial farming has been taking place since the 18th century. The buildings of the former farmstead were built at the shore of Belso-tó next to the village in eighteen thirties. The sheepshed and the barn with eleven columns are still original. They are used as a workshop by the students of the Art College each summer. The renovated buildings of the cattle-shed are used for cultural purposes by Körösi Csoma Foundation. The former servant\\\'s quarters are refurbished and used as dwelling houses.
10. Balaton Limnology Research Institute
The Institute was founded for Balaton research and special biological research. The five pavilion swere was built according to the designs of István Kotsis in 1926-27.
11. Summer castle of Archduke Joseph Habsburg
The beautiful building, located at a 4 acre park, was designed also by István Kotsis. It was built as a summer castle for Archduke Joseph Habsburg in 1924-25.
12. Relics of the folk architecture, and peasant houses
The traditional culture of Tihany, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was alive until the nineteen-fifties. The typical inhabitants of the village working at the properties of the fortress and the Abbey were poor people and this fact is expressed in their architecture. It was not unusual that several small peasant\\\'s houses were built on one single site. The houses were bulit without a chimney – the smoke exhausted from the central kitchen (\\\'smoky kitchen\\\') through the roof and the door until, in the 19th century, socalled free-chimney kitchens were built. Next to the kitchen there was one room on the one side and a larder, a barn and a shed on the other side. The kitchen was heated by oven, the rooms by tile stove fired with coal. The walls were whitewashed wattled plaster or stone wall of basaltic tuff with characteristic grey colour. The roof was thatched with reeds. The furniture was made of hardwood and served several generations. Some of the peasant houses with original furniture can be visited by the tourists (Parasztgazda house and Halászcéh house along Pisky walking way, Pottery house at the end of the Batthyány J. street) other are still occupied or serve other tourist purposes.