31st August 2021

The Cistercian Historic Library in Zirc, maintained by the National Széchényi Library of Hungary, has been restored

After 8 months of restoration works, the spaces of the Cistercian Historic Library in Zirc(approximately 130 kms from Budapest), maintained by the National Széchényi Library, were renewed and the library was recently opened again to visitors.

The Cistercian Abbey in Zirc was founded by King Béla III in 1182 and the first monks arrived from Clairvaux, Burgundy. The medieval library collection was lost and by the time the Ottomans occupied the nearby fortress of Veszprém in 1552, it had become completely abandoned. It was re-established in the early eighteenth century by German monks from Heinrichau, Silesia. The library was gradually extended, and by 1950, the collection increased to approximately 65 000 volumes. In the same year, most monastic orders were banned in Hungary, and the acquisition of books stopped in Zirc, too. In 1953, the operation of the library was entrusted to the National Széchényi Library. After 1990 the monks could return,and Zirc became the centre of the Cistercians, but the library remained under the auspices of the National Széchényi Library.

Today the Cistercian Historic Library has two main functions: it operates as a museum and receives visitors, and as a research facility, with the books available for scientific and academic purposes. Most of the volumes deal with theology, but also books of fiction, history, biology and natural sciences can be found on the shelves in Latin, German and Hungarian languages. The collection also comprises 70 early printed books and more than 300 antiqua.

The library rooms were beautifully restored with the support of the Secretary of State for Culture of the Ministry of Human Capacities, including the Baroque-style furniture in the halls, or the reconstruction of the floor coverings. Thanks to the development of the IT services and the installation of air conditioning system, the representative spaces of the library have become suitable for smaller conferences, exhibitions, artistic programs and private events as well.  The new IT system supports the library’s function as a museum: information desks and a photopoint are available to visitors.

The fascinating historic library with the precious book collections and the new permanent exhibitions dedicated to the travel advertisements of the 1920s-1930s from the collection of the National Széchényi Library welcomes visitors and researchers alike.

For further information: http://zirciapatsag.hu/latnivalok/ciszterci-muemlekkonyvtar

Contact: nemeth.gabor@oszk.hu

  +36 88 593 800

Address: Cistercian Historic Library

   Cistercian Abbey of Zirc

   8420 Zirc, Rákóczi tér 1.


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