Veszprémvölgyi Görög Apácakolostor

Ruins of the Greek Orthodox Nunnery and Jesuit Church

If you have more time, you should visit the remains known as the ruins of the Nunnery of the Veszprém-völgy (Veszprém Valley) Nuns in Séd-völgy (Séd Valley) near the zoo. More Shorter

Its ruins were excavated in 1936. Legend has it that the gorgeous coronation robe of Queen Gisella and maybe that of her husband were prepared here. Queen Gisella herself is said to have participated in preparing the rich embroidery of the robe. The faithful replica can be seen in the Queen Gisella Museum.

The monastery was erected in the 10th century an its ruins were excavated in 1938. The sovereign's splendid crown cloak was embroidered here, on the rich embroidery of which Queen Gizella herself worked as well. The reproduction of the cloak made in 1867 is presented in the Beatified Gizella Diocese Collection.

The nunnery built on the riverside of Séd in the western part of the town had played an important role not just in the life of Veszprém, but in the history of the hungarian Christianity aswell. The monastery is one of the earliest women cloisters in Hungary.

It’s establishing charter is Saint Stephen’s only authentical (and the oldest of the National Archives of Hungary) certification, which was preserved in Coloman the Learned’s transliteration from 1109. While the original document written in greek does not determine the circumstances of the foundation, therefore there are more different hypotheses. By the most presumptive theory, the nunnery was established in 1010 by Stephan I. for his son’s fiance, in order to teach her. The Byzantine princess - as the era had demanded - was brought to her future husband’s land as a child. In the early days the place was inhabited by Byzantine ritualist (Basilian) nuns, they were followed by Benedictine nuns in the 12. century, later on after the initiation of Béla IV following 1240 sisters of the Cistercian Order had owned the building.

Archeological explorations has answered some of the questions of this several hundred year-old monastery. The convent had comprised a large rectangular building, which ground floor was covered with barell-vaults (you can see the renovated arch today). The early church was located on the riverbank next to the present-day baroque church. A crypt was caved under the side-chapel of the building, where a tomb of a person of high-rank (probably ecclesiastic person or lord) could be seen. The revealed fresco-fragments demonstrate the 14th century decoration of the closter, on the walls you can see Saint Emeric and the Holy Mother next to others.

The several large-scale reconstructions in the 14th century had changed the look of the convent fundamentally. The baroque chapel had been demolished and a new gothic church was raised. This can be found today under the baroque church, except the sanctuary (marked on the stone coverage) In 1387 many changes were planned, among others a new wing was designed, which included a dining room and a sick-bay on the ground floor and a heated, vaulted bedroom on the upper floor.

The archeological explorations has shown, that the last considerable rebuilding of the monastery could have been around 1500, when the doors and the windows were redecorated with renaissance frames. Due to the Ottoman menace the inhabitants fleed to Körmend in 1543. During the siege of Veszprém in 1552 the late nunnery was a camping place for the
Ottoman guardian soldiers. This was also the location of the execution of the captured christian soldiers, whom bones could be seen for a long time. (Source: Dezső Laczkó Museum) 

The mantle was originally a chasuble; it was altered to make a mantle later on. According to the inscription embroidered on it, the chasuble was presented by the royal couple to the provostry church (Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) in Székesfehérvár in 1031. “In the 1031st year of Christ (...) A chasuble was had made and was given by King Stephen and Queen Gisela to the Church of the Virgin Mary in Fehérvár.” On the rich iconography of the mantle both of them can be also seen. The ground fabric is rosette-patterned Byzantine silk which is covered almost entirely with ornament embroidered using gold thread. This is the only surviving protroyal of the first king of Hungary, which was made in his lifetime.

The chasuble may have been altered around the turn of the 13th century, and maybe it is related to the assemble of the upper and lower parts of the Holy Crown of Hungary The first datum in which the mantle features is a record relating to the coronation of King Andrew III of Hungary. According to this, ‘the king was in attire such as St. Stephen wore earlier on.’

By the gracious tradition the mantle was made with the contribution of Queen Gisela and her ladies-in-waiting. Therefore a fresco was planned to the 1938 Saint Stephen commemoration onto the remaining walls of the baroque chapel, picturing the queen with her attendance and the nuns embroidering the mantle. According to the researches the valuable garment was made in Hungary in a manufacture connected with the royal court. Queen Gisela -as the inscription on the mantle says -was only the “customer” and the donator. The relationship between Veszprém and Gisela and the fact, that it had become a tradition later on that the queens repaired the mantle before each coronation may have played a great role of the
emergence of the gracious tradition. (Source: Dezső Laczkó Museum) 

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Address: 8200 veszprém, Veszprémvölgyi street
Open: 1st January- 31th December