Religious, Spiritual sights in Pannonhalma
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The entrance to St Martin's Basilica, built early in the 12th century, is through the Porta Speciosa. This arched doorway in red limestone was recarved in the mid-19th century by the Stornos, a controversial family of restorers who imposed 19th-century Romantic notions of Romanesque and Gothic architecture on ancient buildings; it is beautiful despite the butchery.
The fresco above the doorway by Ferenc Storno depicts the church's patron, St Martin of Tours, giving half his cloak to a crouching beggar. Look down to the right below the columns and you'll see what is probably the oldest graffiti in Hungary: 'Benedict Padary was here in 1578', in Latin. As you walk along the…
Pannonhalma Abbey was thoroughly spruced up for its 1000th birthday in 1996. After buying your ticket at the reception building opposite the car park and watching a 15-minute film about life in the monastic community, follow the overhead walkway to the central courtyard, where the tour begins.
In the centre you'll see a statue of the first abbot, Asztrik, who brought the crown of King Stephen to Hungary from Rome, and a relief of King Stephen himself presenting his son Imre to the tutor Bishop Gellért. To the north are dramatic views of the Kisalföld, while looming behind you are the abbey's modern wings and a neoclassical clock tower built in the early 19th century.…