Porta Pacis - Visitors' Centre for the Abbey of Tihany

Tihany is one of the most visited towns of the Balaton shore. Its attraction comes from the location, the nature and the cultural and historical value of Tihany Benedict Abbey. The Tihany Abbey is visited by more than 100 000 people/year, for this reason it became necessary to create a reception buliding, where the ticketselling and information service are proper for the needs of the contemporary age. The meaning of 'Porta Pacis' is: "the Gate of Peace".

The building is on the place of an earlier, unused crypt. The new volume reacts to it well, since 70 % of it is based underground.

Only the dark anthracite block of the entrance structure and the fanlights of the cinema hall are above the surface of the ground. The dark concrete facade of the entrance cube may remind the visitors of the basalt rocks of Tihany, and at the same time emphasises the Abbey. The simple formation of the cube matches gently with the slopey terrain. The only large opening of the building is the glass entrance door, which emphasises the spot of the entrance. However the door connects the interior organically with theoutside world, and also the reception building with the Abbey.

In the building a ticketpurchasing-, and meeting-suitable lobby with the necessary additional functions has been installed, and a cinema room which can be used as a conference hall as well. The connection of the inside and outside world is questionable, because an average visitor must walk downstairs, then upstairs in order to buy a ticket. This relationship maybe refers to the former crypt, or probably serves the better separation of the profane and sacred, the terrestrial and celestial spaces.

Designing the building, the architects were puttingfocus on the material usage, although the quality of the construction doesn’t meet the expectations. All in all the Porta Pacis became an important spotfor the communication of the pilgrims and the Benedictines. The building provides worthy background for the reception, where the Benedictines can greet the visitors, and they can tell what Tihany means to them.

translation: Verasztó Ágnes

Publications in English:



  • client: Abbey of Tihany
  • scale: 351,3 m2