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 eruptions 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: Belsõ-tó, which is popular with anglers, and Külsõ-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 13 th century to issue official deeds (locus authenticus).

During the Turkish times, in the 16-17 th century, the monastery, which had been transformed into a fortress, was demolished. It was rebuilt in baroque style in the 18 th century and became a symbol of Tihany. A few years ago, the Benedictine monks were again put in charge of the monastery 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 monastery, the unique landscape and the recreational possibilities of Balaton.


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.

Crypt of King Andrew I

The roman hall crypt, which was built by King Andrew I. at the time when the monastery 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.

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.

Summer castle of Archduke Joseph Habsburg b

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.

Balaton Limnological Institute

The Institute was founded for Balaton research and special biological research. The five pavilions were was built according to the designs of István Kotsis in 1926-27.

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.

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 19 th century with 1-3-1 window-arrangement. Four massive pillars give relief to the three windows in the middle.

Former inn of the Abbey

The inn built in the early 19 th 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.

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.

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.

Former farmstead of the Abbey

In the property of the Tihany Abbey, allodial farming has been taking place since the 18 th 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.

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 Belsõ-tó in 1822 for processing and storing the vine grown in the property of the Abbey. The cellar has excellent wine also today.


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