This County lies at the junction of the Little Hungarian Plain (Kisalföld), the Sopron Hills (Soproni-hegység), and Alpokalja and Bakony and the Sokoró Hills (Sokorói-dombság). Its territory evolved from joining parts of the historic counties of Győr, Sopron, Moson, and Pozsony. Thereafter some municipalities in Veszprém County also joined (in several stages between 1920 and 2002).
This County, being adjacent to Austria and Slovakia, constitutes the north-western entrance to Hungary: Roads, railways, and waterways of European significance cross its territory.
Its memorable monuments include the downtown of Győr, Sopron and Mosonmagyaróvár, the Esterházy Mansion in Fertőd, the Széchenyi Mansion in Nagycenk, and the churches and mansions of its towns and villages. The Millenary Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma and the Fertő/Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape were listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Two national parks, many landscape protection areas and nature parks, and several nature reserves can also be found in the County.
The purpose of the SacraVelo project managed by the Győr-Moson-Sopron County Government and completed with support of the European Union is to jointly introduce people to the sacred values of the counties of the Hungarian-Slovakian border region that are located along the Danube, so that people could spend their time actively and cycle tourism may thrive.
The network of the SacraVelo bicycle pilgrim routes follows the popular and beloved tourist destinations and the EuroVelo international bicycle route network.
The SacraVelo project package encompassing Győr-Moson-Sopron, Komárom-Esztergom, Nagyszombat, and Pozsony counties indicates a network of routes along the sacred values that is safe to cover by bicycle. There are also cycling centres in Bacsfa (Csallóköz) and Szil (Rábaköz), constituting two locations of the network that are offered and signed with plates.
The network of SacraVelo bicycle pilgrim routes assigned to Győr-Moson-Sopron County is 648 kilometres long and comprises 110 municipalities, along which 82 smaller resting-places were founded. The network in the County offers 209 sacred sights, and people are guided by 139 signboards providing maps and information in four languages. The sacred destinations are presented using both traditional and modern equipment and methods (i.e. website and mobile application), which provide cycling pilgrims and tourists with useful additional information apart from information related to finding the interesting locations and showing the sights in detail.
The Classicist-style church was built in 1836. Its interior is decorated with murals painted by Gábor Döbrentey in 1941-1942: the nave’s vaulting is a gallery of the Hungarian saints while the sanctuary’s vaulting depicts the birth of Jesus with the shepherds and the three kings paying homage. The high altar’s ornaments are the tabernacle next to two statues of angels, with a painting depicting the martyrs of St Cosmas and St Damian above it. A statue of the Virgin of Lourdes stands in the recess of the Mary altar. The pulpit was created around 1800 whereas the statue of Mary from Venice in 1760 (both are older than the church). 20th century works: Masa Feszty’s oil painting depicting St Rita and Jenő Pintér’s eye-catching carved wooden altar and lectern from Bogyoszló. The tower houses one of Hungary’s oldest bells (the “Sanctus bell”) cast in 1513. A composition created in 1808 stands in front of the church and consists of statue of the direful Mary together with the figures of St Wendel and St Florian.
The youngest church in the village is the Evangelical church. Its tower was erected in 1873 and is named the Gábor Tower after its former bell ringer. The part of the building designed to receive the congregation and for worship was completed in 1957 and was consecrated as a church the following year.
One of the village of Bodonhely’s places of interest that should be mentioned first is the Catholic church dedicated to our Lady of the Visitation. The late Baroque building has a squat tower that probably served as a watchtower at the time of the battles with the Turks. Legend has it that a tunnel connected it to Pannonhalma. The tower’s third level and roof are the best articulated. Here you can see stone-framed, semi-circular windows and Tuscan half-pillars topped with steeples. Inside the church, a chronostichon triumphal arch stands in front of the sanctuary, whose Latin text dates back to 1789, the year of the church’s construction. The statues standing on the sanctuary’s Baroque high altar are of St Catherine and St Barbara. The Classicist altarpiece is a painting depicting the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth. The Baroque pulpit’s relief shows the gospel parable of the “sower”. There are also two pictures of the Holy Family and St Peter the Martyr on the side altar.
The castle of Győr was recaptured in 1598, having fallen into Turkish hands four years earlier. Many columns adorned with pictures, so-called “Győr Crosses” were built in western Hungary in rejoicing and memory of this. There is such a stone picture in the square next to the Bodonhely church too. The 116cm x 116cm, tower-like structure consists of two rows of curved, enclosed recesses. One of the top four recesses is decorated with sculptures depicting the Holy Trinity, the other three with scenes taken from the life of the Virgin Mary. The column’s body is closed by a sloped roof resting on a row of protruding ledges. A Baroque statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, standing on the serpent and crowned with a halo decorated with 12 stars, stands at the peak of the roof.
(Vica) Vica was attached to Beled in 1983. Today’s church was built in 1738 and acquired its present form after its expansion in 1870. The most valuable furnishings of the richly decorated interior with its murals by Ferenc Czanik of Kapuvár as well as its sculptures and flags are the 18th century Baroque high altar and pulpit, both of which are resplendent in colours of blue, gold and silver. The high altar is decorated with sculptures of St Ladislaus with an axe, St Stephen the King with his orb and angels. The altarpiece with its many characters depicts St Anne with her family (including the baby Jesus) below and the Father and the Holy Spirit above. There is an ornate cross with a radiant wreath and a crown above the tabernacle.A statue of St Michael stands on top of the altarpiece above the Viczay family coat of arms. There is also a statue of the archangel on the sounding board of the pulpit, with a ball of flames in his hand. The unknown creator of the carvings “planted” the four evangelists on the pulpit’s parapet. A copy of the Makkosmária devotional image can be seen on the side altar.
The one-tower church, with one tower, surrounded by a stone wall stands on a small rise and is a simple Baroque building with a separate sanctuary. There is a braided ornamental throne with pelican and angel statues on the main altar. The altarpiece depicts the scene of the exaltation of the cross. The pulpit is an ambitious work from around 1760 with Rococo decorations. An allegorical statue of “Faith” can be seen on its sounding board. The baptismal font is a work from the 18th century. A chapel built in 1901 stands in the cemetery garden behind the church.
(Ráró) The church was built in Baroque style in the 17th century in the honour of the healer of the sick, St Rochus. It acquired its current form in 1903 when the Weinckheim family remodelled and extended the church in Romanticist style.The facade of the one-naved church is decorated with four antique wooden pillars; above them arched cornices spread out under the tower. The coat of arms of the family who constructed it can be seen above the main entrance. Inside the church, St Roch is portrayed on the white altar edifice with his staff and his loyal companion, his dog.
(Ásvány) The former church of the part of the village called Ásvány was destroyed by the Danube flooding at the end of the 17th century. Today’s church was built on the medieval foundations. The numbers engraved on the font (1658, 1721) record its years of construction. The church acquired its eclectic appearance with its expansion in 1904. The image of Saint Andrew is immortalised in the altarpiece and one of the glass windows. The latter is the work of Imre Asztrik Kákonyi, Franciscan monk and painter. The artist enriched the church with additional glass images and two large “textual” murals. One of the murals provides the backdrop for the 14th century sacrarium and a carved crucifix. The second mural is behind a late Gothic statue of Mary, “accompanied” by a quote from a poem by Bálint Balassi.
The black poplar with its 520cm-circumference trunk and the Calvary next to it radiate the harmony of nature and human creation. The black poplar is a typical tree native to Szigetköz, of which only a few still remain today.The Calvary was built in 1738 by Zoltán Apponyi, the owner of the village of Ráró, which was still independent at that time. The central structure of the building is believed to be based on the work of Martin Wittwer, who designed the Carmelite Church in Győr.The oval balustrade supporting the trilateral vaulting consists of three slender pillars, which are cube-shaped at the top. There are three crosses under the vaulting: Jesus’s in the middle, with the other two those of the thieves crucified with him. Angels’ heads with wings decorate the facade over the column heads. The wrought iron cross on the top of the roof is a remarkable work.
Construction of the church began in 1808 but was abandoned due to the Napoleonic war and the works were only completed in 1828. The painting entitled Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the main altar is the work of Ignatius Maurer of Sopron. The Rococo baptismal font’s supporting pillar is a wooden statue depicting an Saracen child. The Baroque organ was rebuilt in 1845 by the Tüskevár master craftsman Alajos Dallos. The painting of the Immaculate Conception on the side-altar was created in 1883 by János Krausz of Sopron. The frescoes on the apse’s vaulting were restored in 1981 by Zoltán Závory of Szilsárkány. The village weavers’ flag from 1838 is preserved in the Kapuvár Museum: one side depicts Saint Catherine and the other the insignia of the crucifix and the weavers’ symbol (three shuttles). The original famous flagpole, however, which is adorned with dozens of inscriptions and crowned copper shields of the masters and apprentices of “Répcsezemere’s honest, native guild of weavers”, is still in the church today.
Three months before his death, István Széchenyi, confined to the Döbling mental asylum, heard the village’s parish priest’s report on 7 January 1860 about the lamentable condition of the closed tabernacle and wrote in his diary, “we have decided to build a church in Czenk”. Széchenyi was a man of deeds and in February, he commissioned Miklós Ybl to make plans. After his death on 8 April, his widow and son realised the following: laying of its foundation stone on 20 August 1860 and consecration of the church on 20 August 1864. The picture above the main altar of the three-naved Romanesque church with three transepts depicts St Istvan the King offering his country and crown up into Mary’s protection. The Latin text crowning the picture can be translated as “If God is with us, who is against us?” This is the motto of the Széchenyi family, which was reproduced for posterity through the engraving in the impressive marble block of the altar. The 17th century painting depicting Jesus bound and being flogged on the stone on the altarpiece of the left-hand transept should be highlighted among the many things of interest. According to the text below, the painting was on the Széchenyi’s home altar from 1710, then from 1820 it decorated their archives and “remaining wonderfully intact following a raging fire”, was finally moved here in 1863 “due to the piety of religious offspring”. One of István Széchenyi’s prayers can be read on the prints displayed on the benches.The “greatest Hungarian” rests beneath the family mausoleum in a nearby cemetery. The mausoleum was admitted to the Győr-Moson-Sopron County Values Registry.
(near Árpás) The Premonstratensian church founded by the Móric reeve was built in the first half of the 13th century and is a rare example of brick architecture in the Romanesque style. The Baroque altars, the baptismal font and the pulpit were added in the 17th and 18th centuries.The original altarpiece, entitled “Patrona Hungariae and the Majesty of Hungary” has been displayed in Győr since 2005. In the painting, created in 1666-1667, Mary draws the map of Hungary under her cloak with a protective gesture. Hungarian leaders threatened by the Turks kneel beneath the cloaked Madonna beside the Pope and Emperor Lipót. These include the Palatine Wesselényi, Seneschal Nádasdy, Ban of Croatia Péter Zrínyi, Archbishop of Esztergom György Szelepcsényi and Bishop of Győr György Széchenyi. The dignitaries are seeking refuge together under Mary’s protection. The picture, which according to some experts, was painted by an apprentice of Rubens, advocates cooperation. However, instead of this, the Wesselényi conspiracy occurred, followed by its retribution (the execution of Zrínyi, Frangepan and Násdasdy) in 1671.A painting depicting Saint James is displayed on the main altar instead of the picture, which is kept in Győr.The church stands at the edge of the village of Mórichida, although it is mentioned in the more modern literature as a monument belonging to Árpás.
The church was built by Count Mihály Vitzay in 1777. The altar depicts the glorification of Peter the Apostle’s third successor, Pope Clement, who was martyred in 101. The painting is the work of Franz Anton Maulbertsch or one of his acolytes. The painting shows Clement rising in the clouds towards the Lamb representing Christ. He is surrounded by angels, papal insignia and the participants of a procession. These people are standing next to a church surrounded by water and turning their gaze to the saint, seeking help from an intercessor. The inhabitants of Lipót, who were often endangered by the floodwaters of the Danube, were also under the protection of Saint Clement, whose life and martyrdom were both related to water. Convention has it that Pope Clement was exiled by the Emperor Trajan to the Crimea, where he worked as a slave in a marble mine. He and his companions in this forced labour often suffered from great thirst. In response to their common prayer, Clement – instead of Jesus who had appeared in his vision - brought forth a great source of water, in which the aghast inhabitants of the area were baptised. When this came to the emperor’s knowledge, he ordered that stones be tied around Clement’s neck and that he be cast into the sea. The saint’s body did not remain in its watery grave however, as the sea retreated so that the faithful could bring his dead body back to dry ground.
The church’s chapel was built on the hill above the village in the 12th century. The originally free-standing rotunda has a horseshoe-shaped apse attached to its interior. The tiny apse is decorated with frescoes made after the Mongol invasion. In the arch, Christ’s image in an almond-shaped frame is surrounded by the symbolic figures of the evangelists with the apostles beneath this. The circular church was enlarged by Croatian settlers who arrived around 1660 and replaced the Hungarians who had been chased away by the Turks. The apse was moved to the abandoned half of the rotunda and its half-dome was painted with another row of apostles in Renaissance style. The tower was built in 1748. The Baroque transformation extended to the entire church. The building was expanded in the 1930s, and then in the 1970s, the circular church was separated from the three-naved church. The cover of the ancient stone basin features a miniature Baroque carving of John the Baptist and Jesus. Two wooden Baroque sculptures were added to the wall of the new church: St Augustine and Pope Gregory. Its namesake St Andrew is also immortalised in the altarpiece, mosaics and statue. The pictures on the chancel’s parapet represent the stations on the Way of the Cross. The interior tapestry on the tabernacle door was embroidered by the sisters of Saint Theresa of Calcutta.
(Szerdahely) At the end of the 1400s, Gergely Vörös Bezerédj erected the statue of Our Lady in some woodland in the middle of the estate that he had bought from the Nádasdy family; this is where the chapel currently stands. After little more than a century, a bolt of lightning struck the statue during a terrible storm, breaking its supporting pillar into pieces. The rubble buried the statue beneath it, yet the statue remained completely intact. This seemingly miraculous event drew the faithful’s attention to the statue: the residents of the surrounding villages began to make pilgrimages to the statue. At the end of the 19th century, the crutches placed against the surrounding trees testified to the miraculous healing that had taken place at the statue. The statue stood in the open air until 1903, when a beautiful chapel was built from the faithful’s donations. In 1974, the statue was removed from its supporting pillar and placed in the chapel, and the woodland behind the chapel was transformed into an amphitheatre-like park for the pilgrims. This area is now surrounded by a Way of the Cross built in 1980.
The “Homokgödri kiskép” (“Small Picture Standing at the Sand Pit”) is a memorial pillar reminiscent of a watchtower. According to contemporary records, it was built in 1709. Its role could have been to mark the border, since it was erected on the outskirts of the village close to the main road between Győr and Hédervár. The interior of the structure is nowadays covered by a tiled roof supported by four columns at its corners. Under this protective cover, there are four votive pictures in the recesses depicting the patron saints of the village: St Wendelin, St Barbara, St Florian and Our Lady of the Snows. An exact replica of the pillar can be seen in the Szentendre village museum.
The village’s beautiful sacral place of interest is the listed 18th century Calvary statue group, surrounded by the relief of the stone-framed pillars of the Stations of the Cross. The pile of quarry stones symbolises Mount Calvary with the crosses of Christ and the two thieves as well the statue of the Virgin Mary and St John the Apostle.
The church, built in 1777 and rebuilt in 1883 in a romantic style, was consecrated by János Zalka, the Bishop of Győr. On the main altar, King László (Ladislaus I of Hungary) brings forth water for his thirsty soldiers. The image of one of the side altars depicts the mystic devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St Margaret of Alocoque. The central figure of the other side alter is a statue of Mary with statues of St Elizabeth and St John the Evangelist alongside it. The church is adorned with 12 stained glass windows, which are works of Ágoston Vermes and József Palka. Hungarian saints (King Saint Stephen, Saint Emeric of Hungary, Elizabeth of Hungary, Margaret) and the illustrious saints of the Catholic church (Mary, Joseph, Anne, Martin, Catherine of Alexandria, Rosalia, Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua) are depicted in the glass images. The 14 Stations of the Cross were created from Zsolnay porcelain in 1974.