Benedictine Abbey of Tihany
Amongst the many sights of the peninsula the Benedictine Abbey church and monastery are the most famous.
Its foundation (1055) followed a period full of skirmish and struggles when Andrew I had to fight the pagan rebels of the country and the enemy coming from outside (Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor). Out of gratitude for the victory he built a monastery where he invited Benedictine monks. The Byzantine friars coming with the king’s wife – the daughter of the grand duke of Kiev – have carved themselves cave dwellings and cells (Hermit Houses) in the soft sandstone of Óvár. The king ordered his burial place to be in the crypt of the abbey where his tomb can be seen today.
Part of the abbey is a museum where, besides seeing archeological findings, the visitor can also learn about Charles IV of Hungary, the last monarch of the House of Habsburg. In 1921, after an unsuccessful attempt to reclaim the throne, he was taken with his wife to Tihany where he spent 5 days in custody before being taken to Madeira by a British ship. The museum is the property of the Benedictine Order since 1994.
Next to the steps leading to the abbey is the statue of the founder-king by Imre Varga.