Belapatfalva Tourist Attractions
On the road to Eger, 8km (5mi.) south of Szilvásvárad, lies the somewhat uninspiring industrial town of Bélapátfalva. An untarred but signposted road leads from the town up to the foot of the imposing Bélko Mountain, where the Late Romanesque monastery church stands on a plateau in the middle of the wooded slopes. It is Hungary's sole surviving Cistercian church. The secluded position and simple solemnity of the church give this spot its own special charm. In 1232 monks from the Pilis monastery in Esztergom settled here. The construction of the church and monastery was interrupted as a result of the Mongol attacks, and they were not finally completed until the 15th C. By the 18th C the buildings had gradually decayed, and finally only the external walls remained. About 1730, after coming into the possession of the seminary of Eger, the buildings were restored, using the old materials. A further restoration program between 1953 and 1966 again brought to light the original Cistercian building and the foundations of both monastery and church.The severe exterior of the church, together with the flat end to the choir, the façades almost devoid of decoration of any kind and the lack of a tower are all in accord with the strict building regulations laid down by the Order. The only adornment on the west front is the recessed doorway with beautifully carved capitals and the Early Gothic rose window. This impression of marked restraint can also be seen in the mainly Baroque interior of the triple-aisled church. A typical feature of most Cistercian monasteries is the reading cell, which adjoins the south transept and is accessible from the cloister.