Back In early 2017, the Pannonhalma Archabbey along with its consortium partners, the Pannonhalma City Council and the Hungarian Tourism Agency, applied for a grant for the Széchenyi 2020 Program GINOP-7.1.6-16 “Developing World Heritage Sites” to further develop the World Heritage Site as a tourism destination.
The project has now received HUF 949.99 million from the European Union and is being implemented under the framework of the Széchenyi 2020 program.
Owned and operated by Benedictine monks, the territorial abbey – the second largest in the world – will utilize the grant to preserve and better present the historic property and its monastic traditions. But funds will also go towards enhancing the Archabbey’s surrounding landscape and making it more accessible.
The project seeks to create an interactive visitor experience focused on the Archabbey’s herb garden and its production of locally produced products. The monks’ lavender distillery will be renovated, and a tea and grape seed processing workshop will be set up to familiarize tourists with the distillation process. There will also be a fragrance museum and an herb dryer, as well as a nature trail from the herb garden to the arboretum.
Construction is presently 15 percent complete, with the fragrance museum, grape seed processing area and tourist showroom ready for tourists. Graphics and branding are now underway as well. The Officina Sancti Martini Cosmetics Factory will also show visitors how to make cosmetic products based on the monastery’s ancient recipes, and an interactive tour guide app will make navigating all the abbey’s information and sites fun and easy.
The number of visitors is expected to increase by 22,000 a year within a few years due to all the improvements. Plans are also underway to renovate the so-called Gesztenyés Horog footpath, which connects the World Heritage Site with Pannonhalma’s city center.