History of Tihany

Lake Balaton, is a large shallow lake, and is the largest lake in Central Europe It was formed by tectonic sagging around 25,000 years ago. The Tihany peninsula divides the lake into two basins. The characteristic view of the landscape was formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago as shown today by two giant calderas. The remains of these craters form two little lakes, without outlet, higher than the water level of Balaton: the Inner Lake (Belsõ-tó), which is popular with anglers, and the Outer Lake (Külsõ-tó), a paradise for aquatic birds. As a result of volcanic follow-up activity, thermal springs created more than one hundred geyser hills in the peninsula. The most beautiful one is called the Golden House (Aranyház) after the golden lichen covering its rocks.


Beside geological features, the peninsula is famous for its exceptional wildlife: the area became the first nature reserve of Hungary in 1952. The archaeological findings of the area show that the peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. People of the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Roman Age liked this place. The Romans called Balaton Lacus Pelso and had a ford at Tihany. The ancient Tihany village was founded in the Middle Ages when King Andrew I built the burial place of the royal family here in 1055 with a monastery above it where Benedictine monks were settled. In the 13th century, the Abbey of Tihany was authorised to issue official deeds (locus authenticus).


During Turkish times, in the 16-17th centuries, the monastery, which had been converted into a fortress, was demolished. It was rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18th century and became a symbol of Tihany. A few years ago, the Benedictine monks were again put in charge of the monastery and the Abbey Museum. Tihany is a jewel of not only the Balaton but also Hungary. Since the 1960s masses of tourists, both Hungarians and foreigners, have visited the place. Its main assets are the historical and cultural relics related to the monastery, the unique landscape and the recreational possibilities of Lake Balaton.