Attracting visitors to the Szeged-Alsóváros Franciscan Church and Monastery

The project 'Visitor friendly tourist development at Szeged-Alsóváros Franciscan Church and Monastery' has created a centre for religious and culture tourism boosting visitor numbers to the region.

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The refurbished Franciscan church and monastery is drawing more visitors to the region © László Wertheim The refurbished Franciscan church and monastery is drawing more visitors to the region © László Wertheim

" The project has significantly contributed to the conservation of an important historical site and to the preservation of other cultural values. "

Márta Petri, Magyarok Nagyasszonya Ferences Rendtartomány

Dating back to medieval times, the Franciscan Monastery and Church in Szeged-Alsóváros is an important part of Hungary's cultural heritage. Not only is it the country's second largest still operating religious centre -- the largest is the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma -- it also has great potential value as a tourist site. The project was launched to realise this potential.

Though visitors were able to come to the church and monastery before the project, the site was not suitable for large groups. In order to welcome greater numbers, an exhibition space was created in the friary next to the church to display the main historical artefacts of the region and illustrate the traditions of the Franciscan monks and their 570-year history in Szeged-Alsóváros. Several art treasures date from the 15th century such as a vestment made from the robe of King Matthias and the chair of Saint James of the Marches, which is the oldest remaining item of its type in the country.

Revitalising tourism

Since opening in 2012, the centre has been receiving visitors the whole year round and ‘has become an important scene of cultural and religious tourism in the region,’ says Márta Petri of the project beneficiary, Magyarok Nagyasszonya Ferences Rendtartomány (Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Hungary). Furthermore, the project can be ‘held up as a model for other similar projects while also generating other similar projects.’

A shop, a projection room and a common room were also created at the visitor centre, while in the herbal garden visitors can learn about the range of remedies used by the monks. The site attracted around 12 000 visitors in 2014.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Visitor friendly tourist development at Szeged-Alsóváros Franciscan Church and Monastery” is HUF 265 356 307 (approximately EUR 850 064), of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing HUF 225 287 504 (approximately EUR 721 490) from the Operational Programme “South Great Plain” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

28/01/2016