Romantic, zigzagging ruined churches, each with its own unique story. It is a wonderful testimony to a long-gone age. This thus no longer comes to life only on the pages of history books, but also these buildings bring us closer to that age.
There are many beautiful ruined churches in Hungary that are worth visiting, even on a special tour or a simple trip.
1. The Kiscelli ruined church
The Kiscelli Castle and the neighboring Park Forest is located in Budapest’s District III. Today, this complex of buildings with Baroque architectural elements functions as a museum.
It also has member institutions of two exhibitors: the Budapest Gallery’s fine art collection and the other is the collection of the Department of Modern City History.
The ancient ruined church, which once operated as a monastery, is also part of the museum, so we can admire this if we visit here. Unfortunately, the wonderful baroque furnishings of the former religious pilgrimage site were auctioned.
Most of the paintings that used to be here, the pulpit and benches can only be seen in different parts of the country. However, later, for example, the only image of the St. Ivó in Hungary was returned to the ruined church in Kiscelli, so after 220 years it could be admired in its original place again.
Today, as it serves as an exhibition space, they have tried to present the former place of pilgrimage, but it is definitely worth seeing this piece of the past as well.
2. The Zsámbék ruined church
This ruined church was built by King Béla the third in the Middle Ages of Hungary and lived its heyday even then.
It is an unadulterated Romanesque-Gothic church with all its elements. We only have little memory left of this age, so this is why this ruined church is very valuable.
Although its condition is indeed quite dilapidated, the distribution of space can still be clearly seen, and most of the walls have remained in fairly good condition.
Once upon a time, during the Tartar invasion, this church was rebuilt later by Béla the fourth. Then during the Turkish occupation, the condition of the church deteriorated a lot, many of them carried the stones from here to build their own houses.
Currently, if the church is not renovated, we can only admire it for up to 50 years. And it would really be a shame for it.
3. The Avas ruined church
The settlement is said to have been up since Roman rule, but the church was built in the 13th century. Later, the church became part of the Szigliget Castle, which sealed its fate.
The old village was depopulated before the retreat, the people who once lived here moved to Újfalu, which provided greater security. The final destruction of the church in Avas can be traced back to the Turks: between 1544 and 1550.
However, nowadays we are lucky enough to see the little bit left of it and what we managed to save. If you are looking for real-time travel, make sure to check out this building with its difficult past.
4. The Aszófő Kövesd ruined church
This ruined church is located in a real wonderland, on the shores of Lake Balaton, in a nature reserve. Of particular interest is the fact that this church was built on the foundations of a former Roman building, as the area was already inhabited at that time.
The church was built in the 13th century in the Romanesque style. The building has a typical Balaton-Felvidék structure: a single-nave, straight-closed sanctuary.
Although we can indeed speak of a ruin here, the pattern on the main façade is very similar to the Ják temple, for example. It is worth taking a closer look at this pointed-arched, spherical ledge, which reminds us that this church once saw better days.
And if there are already Roman foundations, then, of course, no one is surprised that an altar from this age was dug under the sanctuary. This can be seen in the vicinity of the nearby Almás Spring.
This ruined church has preserved the mementos of several ages, such as traces of cannonballs in its walls and charred human remains in the excavated tombs. These can all be dated to the Turkish times.
5. The Ecsér ruined church
Again, we can speak of a Romanesque church dating back to the 12th century.
It is worth knowing about the settlement that is located between Révfülöp and Kővágóőrs, and once the Turks burned the village to dust. Nothing has survived but the walls of the church built of stone and the buildings belonging to it.
The settlement was already mentioned in 1038. The stones of a Roman building were also probably used to build the church. Then in 1430 the building was finally renovated and even expanded and transformed into the then fashionable Gothic style.
There is rarely a church in the area with three naves, so this ruined church is an interesting sight already. Under the steps of the sanctuary, the remains of the Ecsér family were found, to whom we can also owe the extension of the church.
It is worthwhile to pattern the walls better, as we can also see frescoes there, such as a depiction of St. Christopher. The stone wall surrounding the church marked the burial site, but there is even a foundation for the rectory. And underground are the remains of a destroyed village that was burned to the ground.
In the 1960s, a complete archaeological excavation and renovation took place.
6. The Babócsa Saint Egyed ruined church
A real archaeological dream where this ruined church is located not only because it is located on the site of a former castle, but also because the Basakert and the remains of a former Turkish bath have been excavated here.
So here’s everything that might be interesting for a history lover. Of course, it is not just for them. The parish church built in honor of the Babócsa Saint Egyed is already mentioned in written records in the 1200s.
Then this Romanian church was later replaced by a Gothic church. Presumably, there may have been practical reasons for this, as the increased number of believers and pilgrims demanded more space.
Archaeologists have also discovered that the old church was probably demolished only after the new one was completed. Furthermore, the remains of an even larger building were found, which most likely for the pilgrims arriving here could have been a resting place, or even a shelter, after making the great journey.
During the Turkish occupation, Babócsa and its surroundings were almost completely destroyed. This region is characterized by a duality: destruction and renewal are present at the same time. Attempts have also been made to demolish the Benedictine monastery and church.
There is also a steam bath developed in the northern part of the church. This was operated with heated water on site. The wonderful place, the daffodils, and this much-lived ruined church all encourage the traveler to visit here once.
7. Balatoncsicsó-Saint Balázs ruined church
It is a symbol of the Nivegy Valley in Hungary, and is located in the settlement of only 220 people, on Szent Balázs Hill. Surprisingly, there is still Mass here on the first Saturday of February.
The predecessor of the ruined church was made of wood, and only much later was it replaced by this Romanian-style stone building. It is worth noting the design of the church and also the small little details. As an example, the richly decorated gate on the west side.
It also stands out from the surrounding churches with its rectangular sanctuary on the outside and arch on the inside. Like many of its companions, this church and village were destroyed by the Turks, and no people came back to settle here.
It is worth visiting this partially renovated ruined church because it offers an amazing view of Lake Balaton and the surrounding area.
8. The Kovács round church ruins
If you want a real forest trip on Gerecse Hill, head to the town of Baj, which is located on the eastern edge of the Tata Basin.
The round church here is mentioned in many ways: Árpádian round church, St. Peter’s rotunda or Kovács steppe church. Its construction dates back to the Árpádian era, once a village stood here with the parish church of Haláp-Kovács, surrounded by a cemetery.
Next to it is the clearing of Páterkép, hence the other name of the church. One can only guess from the fact that it is an Árpádian building we are talking about when we mention a circular, rotunda building built of irregular stones.
Its inner diameter is 5-7 meters, with a sanctuary on the east side. The round church of Baj was excavated in 1993, and the noble manor house, fishpond, outbuildings, and protective dam next to it were also discovered.
Interesting objects were also found in the cemetery here: belt buckles, costume ornaments, and corollas lay in the tombs, among other things. If you are curious about these pieces of the past, make sure to visit here.
9. The Balatonfüred- Papsoka-Siske church ruins
The name of Papsoka refers to the term priest’s estate, so it is not difficult to figure out that the Benedictines of Tihany have something to do with it.
Namely, the servants of the Tihany abbey lived on this estate. The settlement also had its own church, which was erected in honor of St. Michael. The ruins of the church are located not far from the Siske spring, with an incredible view of Lake Balaton.
Incidentally, the church was once built on the foundations of a Roman villa, which then expanded pretty slowly over time, at first, only with a gallery and extension, and later with a Gothic-style sanctuary. And today, this ruined church is the only surviving memory of the villages that have since been destroyed.
Today, the church only has its ruins; probably the church with a roof structure that burned down after the Turkish invasion was relocated by the residents of the area.
Although little remains of the church left, it still has a beautiful memory of those who once lived here.
The most beautiful church ruins in Hungary – Summary
In Hungary, after the Conquest (896 AD), dozens of beautiful churches have survived from the time of our ancient leaders to this day. However, the vicissitudes of time and history have pretty much worn out their old light.
These ruined churches not only survived the sword-horse riding kings, but the “dark” Middle Ages, Turkish rule, Habsburg times, and even two world wars. They may have been ruined, but they still hold themselves, so they deserve respect and esteem. Let us express our amazement to discover these unique historic ruined churches.