The Porta Speciosa and the Cloisters

In the Middle Ages one of the main entrances to the church was the Porta Speciosa (ornate entrance). This portal leads to the church from the so-called cloisters (quadrum or quadratura) and it was crafted also in the 13th century.

The monks used to enter the church for service through the Porta Speciosa after congregating in the cloisters. As it is known from the Revelations of St. John, Heavenly Jerusalem has got twelve elaborate gates (with the names of the Lamb's twelve apostles). One of these twelve gates was built in the monastery so that the monks, when going for prayer, could enter the church as if they were entering Heavenly Jerusalem.

In the Renaissance, Pannonhalma was rather depopulated (with not more than 6 or 7 monks). In 1472 King Matthias claimed the abbey. Under his rule major constructions were started. Also today's cloisters was created at that time. The constructions were probably finished in 1486, as it is testified by the inscription on one of the cornerstones. The work was presumably conducted by craftsmen of the Visegrád Royal Workshop of Construction.

The small inner garden surrounded by the cloisters was also called Paradisum (Paradise) metaphorically creating an earthly imitation of Biblical Paradise. In medieval times mainly herbs were grown here so that those in need would recover the body in its wholeness and health as it was in Paradise.


The Porta Speciosa and the cloisters are accessible for visitors as stated in the Visiting the monastery menu.