The most famous landmarks in Pannonhalma, located in Győr-Moson-Sopron County in western Hungary, are the 1,000-year-old Pannonhalma Archabbey and the Benedictine Secondary School, located on Hill of St. Martin. You can arrive by taking a small train from the village or choose to hike up the Chestnut Hook Trail.
The Pannonhalma Archabbey was founded as the first Hungarian Benedictine monastery in 996 AD by Prince Géza, who designated this as a place for the monks to settle; it soon became the center of the Benedictine order. The monastery became an archabbey in 1541 and was fortified during the 16th and 17th centuries due to the Ottoman invasions.
Guided tours of the Archabbey give visitors a glimpse into the life of the Benedictine community; you can see the early Gothic basilica, the belfry, the famous library with its 400,000 books, the arboretum, and an herb garden with a lavender house.
Additionally, Archduke Otto Habsburg’s heart is kept at the Pannonhalma Archabbey (his body lies in the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna).
The Benedictines even have places to eat with delicacies based on traditional recipes (Viator Restaurant, Omnibus Bistro, Pausa Café), and people can sit on a terrace at the Abbey Winery to taste wines as well. Then, there is the surrounding forest, with its 14-meter-high canopy, that visitors can stroll through.
In 1996, parts of the town were included in UNESCO’s demarcation of the Abbey as a World Heritage Site. Four years later, the village of Pannonhalma was officially granted “town” status and is now home to some 4,000 inhabitants.