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sights & culture Nagyon Balaton

7 impressive Balaton churches to visit this autumn

Wherever you go around Lake Balaton, you’ll find a church in every community. Round or square, old or new, seven particular churches near the lake offer impressive architecture, along with interesting stories from the past.

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Church at Sóly

Excavations are currently taking place at one of the hidden treasures of Hungary’s Transdanubia region. The church at Sóly, located by Main Road 8, is an Árpád-era construction, where they recently found remains of frescos from the 13th century. Although the church will reopen its gates next year, they welcome visitors who make an appointment.

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Saint Michael's Basilica, Veszprém

The basilica at Veszprém is one of Hungary’s oldest churches. The original Romanesque structure, erected during the reign of Saint Stephen, was completely destroyed by a fire in the late Middle Ages and the rebuilt Gothic church was then destroyed by the Turks. The next Baroque church was renovated in a Romanesque Revival style in the early 20th century. The crypt is definitely worth a visit, as it was part of the original Gothic structure. The arm bone of Stephen's wife, Queen Gisela, is on display on the left side of the altar.

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Round Church, Balatonfüred 

There are so many iconic and old churches in Balatonfüred, it’s hard to highlight just one. One of the best-known is the Round Church, a small chapel located in Blaha Lujza utca. Built in 1840, this Classicist church is reminiscent of Rome’s Pantheon. A memorial plaque on its wall commemorates those who fled Communism.

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Tihany Abbey

This Benedictine monastery and church are among the most important religious buildings in Hungary. Its foundation charter dated 1055 provides the oldest written words in the Hungarian language. It was often used as a fortress and, following a fire, it had to be rebuilt and was not completed until the 18th century. The only remaining medieval section is the crypt, containing the grave of 11th-century monarch Andrew I. Monks still live in the monastery to this day.

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Sümeg Parish Church

There are plenty of Baroque churches in Hungary, rebuilt after the Ottoman era in the leading style of the 1700s. What makes this one, consecrated in 1759, particularly impressive is its interior, dominated by a monumental fresco by Anton Maulbertsch.

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Saint Emeric basalt church, Badacsonytomaj

Basalt is an important building material throughout the Balaton Uplands. Although the stones of the basalt church aren’t red, the building is still very characteristic. It was built between 1931 and 1932 in Romanesque Revival style and refurbished in 1981. To see the interior, be sure to make an appointment.

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Szent Jakab Church, Lengyeltóti

Little is known about the history of this church but it is presumed that it was built in the 1100s and used by monks. The original Romanesque layout is hardly visible due to multiple reconstructions but the walls created in various styles certainly have a story to tell.

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