This marvellous peninsula, devides the Lake Balaton into two. It is a pearl of not only the region or the country but also of Europe. It is a jewel in the middle of the Hungarian sea. The surface of the vulcanic peninsula is covered by limestone geysers.
A number of rare animals and plants can be found here, thanks to the unique climate and the two lakes without an outlet. This resulted in the declaration of National park in 1952 – the first of its kind in Hungary. Tihany has a great number of attractions not only in nature but also in history and atmosphere.
Andrew I. in 1055 A.D. chose Tihany his burial-place, so according to the habits, he founded the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany.
The church has been the cultural centre of the village for the last centuries. The atmosphere of the 19th century is called out by the thatched roof houses. The life of the almost a thousand-year-old village is shown in the village-museum. Tourism has been decisive in the last few decades in the life of the people here.
Our village, Tihany
The history of the village is as old as the prehistoric era, though the centre was a bit further, on the Castle Hill, called "Óvár". Here the oldest earthwork of Hungary can be found, the reigning princes of which were buried on the hill opposite the "Fogas Csárda". Only two of these graves can be found now, the others disappeared during the time.
The development of the village was launched by the foundation of the abbey. It is also the grave of the founder, it can be visited by the public in the undercroft of the church. The Foundation Letter is a very important language memory of Hungary. The Benedictine abbey, however, is not the only church on the peninsula. The other village, Apáti, which used to be an independent village, also had an own church, which is renovated and can be visited today. Apáti, however, did not survive the Turkish Invasion, it disappeared in the 16th century, its inhabitants moved to the current village.
Fishermen, soldiers and ferrymen lived in Újlak, at the South coast of the peninsula. They had the same fate, and their church named after Saint Margaret is still in ruins. The Benedictine Monastery was also regularly attacked by the Turks, but it was eventually ruined in 1702 following the Habsburgs' decree to destroy all the castles in Hungary.
The church had burnt down in 1683 and its state got even worse with the explosion of the castle.
The restoration was started during the era of abbot Grasso Villibald and was completed by 1735 but in 1736 it burned down again. Abbot Lécs Ágoston rebuilt it in 1740. The exterior of the church is still as it was in 1754. The interior has been worked out by great artists such as Károly Lotz, Lajos Deák-Ébner, Bertalan Székely. Charles IV. and his wife were kept in custody in 1921 here. The church was the state's property until 1993, when the Benedictine Order got it back.
Béla IV. ordered the building of the stone castle after the Mongol invasion. Its ruins can be still seen on Csúcs Hill. From the guards' tower the whole Lake and the whole village could be seen. You can also find the cave here where Sobri Jóska, the famous Hungarian outlaw is said to have hidden from the gendarmes.
In the 15th century, Tihany was donated the "jus gladii" (the power of life and death). On the "Akasztó" Hill there was a prison and a place of execution which, according to the rumour, was used only once in history.
The inhabitants of the village earned their living mainly from fishing and winery for centuries. This lifestyle is shown in the village museum. In the 1800s, however, a disease called PHILOXERE destroyed all the grape fields on the peninsula. The revival of the grape culture was thank to Ignác Darányi Agricultural Minister so he was donated a monument in 1938.
Shipping is also an important part of the Tihany life. It serves not only fishing but also transportation. The only ferry of the lake is between Tihany and Szántód. It is also important as a tourist attraction.