Benedictine Abbey – Vértesszentkereszt

Its carefully carved stones are a real art history treat for those interested in Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. An early church was allegedly already standing in the dense Vértes forest before the arrival of the Benedictine monks. The Benedictine monastery and church were then built nearly 900 years ago. It is not known when the monastery was founded, although monks were already living here by 1146. The construction was started by Bishop Ugrin II at the end of the 12th century and completed by his successor, Nicholas II, in the first quarter of the 13th century. In the 13th century, a large, three-naved, east-oriented Romanesque church rich in sculptural ornamentation was built to the south of the early building complex. Under the rule of Charles I (Charles Robert), the area became royal property and a popular hunting ground. The period while the monarchs were its patrons can be considered the abbey’s heyday. Subsequently, the building complex changed hands several times; however, its maintenance was neglected. In 1478, King Matthias appealed to Pope Sixtus IV to “annex the (abbey) that was so badly destroyed that it was ruined almost to the ground to the Dominican monastery erected in the honour of St Margaret lying just outside the walls of the city of Fehérvár”. This indeed happened in 1478 and the abbey was entered into the registration book of the Dominican order with the name Vérteskeresztúr. The monks fled during the Turkish conquest and the abbey was deserted. From the 1800s, most of the abbey’s stones were taken for churches, mills and dams being constructed nearby. Many of its carvings have been incorporated into the Csákvár Memorial and the Tata Art Ruin. Address: Oroszlány - Vértesszentkereszt, GPS coordinates: N:47.4437626799, E:18.2712829113Further information: +36/20/544-3074, +36/30/600-1293, www.vertesszentkereszt.orgOpening times: only by prior agreement and with a guide