Benedictine Abbey Church

Top choice in Tihany

Built in 1754 on the site of King Andrew I’s church, this twin-spired, ochre-coloured church is Tihany's dominant feature. Don't miss the fantastic altars, pulpits and screens carved between 1753 and 1779 by an Austrian lay brother named Sebastian Stuhlhof, each a baroque-rococo masterpiece in its own right. King Andrew's remains lie in a limestone sarcophagus in the atmospheric Romanesque crypt. The spiral swordlike cross on the cover is similar to ones used by 11th-century Hungarian kings.

Upon entering the main nave, turn your back to the sumptuous main altar and the abbot’s throne and look right to the side altar dedicated to Mary. The large angel kneeling on the right supposedly represents Stuhlhof’s fiancée, a fisher’s daughter who died in her youth. On the Altar of the Sacred Heart across the aisle, a pelican (symbolising Christ) nurtures its young (the faithful) with its own blood. The figures atop the pulpit beside it are the four doctors of the Roman Catholic church: Sts Ambrose, Gregory, Jerome and Augustine. The next two altars on the right- and left-hand sides are dedicated to Benedict and his twin sister, Scholastica; the last pair, a baptismal font and the Lourdes Altar, date from 1896 and 1900 respectively.

Stuhlhof also carved the magnificent choir rail above the porch and the organ with all the cherubs. The frescoes on the ceilings by Bertalan Székely, Lajos Deák-Ébner and Károly Lotz were painted in 1889, when the church was restored.

Admission includes entry to the attached Benedictine Abbey Museum.

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