Cistercian Abbey in Zirc
You cannot visit the capital of the Bakony Hills without being stopped by the monumental building of the Abbey. And if you stop, you must enter this beautiful Baroque building which hides and reveals a lot of treasures to visitors willing to pay attention. So, do not hesitate and step inside this sanctuary that is not only centred around religion. Explore its diverse heritage and enjoy the uniquely compelling sight of the church and the memorial library.
The medieval Cistercian Abbey was founded by King Béla III in 1182. It took several decades to build the Romanesque-style church and monastery. The first monks came from their French homeland, from the Abbey in Clairvaux, whose first abbot was St. Bernard.
During the Turkish reign, the buildings started deteriorating. Zirc was uninhabited for one and a half centuries. The first settlers came at the beginning of the 18th century, then the first monks appeared, who later started reconstructing the buildings – but now in Baroque style. The Baroque-style Roman Catholic church, which is still the abbey church of the Cistercian monks, was consecrated in 1752.
Today the Abbey hosts the collection of the Memorial Library, which dates back to the middle of the 19thcentury. All boys’ and all girls’ schools were founded here with the co-operation of the Cistercian monks. Thanks to the restoration of the interior a few years ago, today visitors can see the Basilica minor in its original beauty of an era 260 years ago. It is worth extending your stay in the Bakony Hills and return to visit a mass in the abbey church. You can choose from several mass times according to your programmes and mood: Monday to Saturday: 7 a.m. and 6/7 p.m., Sunday: 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 6/7 a.m..
Due to the newly opened Cistercian Visitor Centre, you can gain special experiences and knowledge as you explore the eight hundred-year history and works of art of the Abbey founded in the 12th century with the help of an interactive audio guide, within the scope of an exhibition based on lights and music and having a special atmosphere. Taking a closer look at Zirc’s religious and cultural heritage concentrated here (Cistercian Visitor Centre, Bakony Museum of Natural Sciences, Reguly Antal Memorial Library, nicely decorated staircase, abbey church, ruins of a medieval cloister, courtyard) offers full and really memorable spiritual and mental regeneration.