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Natural attractions

7. The Reformed Church and its parishes

The church was built between 1658-1660 on the ruins of a Catholic church building that used to stand there. It is a well-known and highly appreciated landmark of the city and forms a harmonious unity together with the late-baroque style parsonage. The building itself faces towards the East which further proves its ancient Catholic heritage.

The tower was added on the western front of the building in 1739 and was further raised in 1844. One of its most distinctive features are its corner buttresses and battlements that point to the fact that it probably also served defense purposes against enemy raids. This was also the year when the newly built wooden structure of the tower received a tin roof decorated at the top by an ornate button that houses a glass holding a manuscript.

A 1894 hailstorm caused serious damage in the plasterwork of the tower and its clock. The mechanism of the current timekeeper was manufactured in the workshop of János Müller in Buda but still preserves the original dials.

Until the turn of the last century, the tower originally housed three bells but the largest and the smallest ones fell victims to the First World War. The community commissioned new ones in 1922 which have been cast in the foundries of Budapest. The large one weighs 300 and the smaller one 80 kg. The oldest bell is the middle one that was also cast in Buda.

The corner buttresses of the tower prominently invoke the gothic architectural style. The well-proportioned, pointed arches of the windows along with the ribbed vaults make the overall appearance of the building appealing to most every onlooker. The facades decorated by gables along with the dark saddle-back roof, majestically rise above the structure.

The first tower clock was manufactured in 1807 and replaced by a new one, still in use today, a century later. The still functional mechanism used to show the time and strike the hours until the installation of electric bell ringers. Until that point, the clock had to be wound on a daily basis.

Although a heavy earthquake in 1985 severely damaged the building and caused the fall of the roof-button at the top, it was restored to its formal beauty in 1986.

The marble Communion Table and the baptismal font were donated to the church in 1900 by Károly Bátky and Paulina Móricz.

The heavy, deep-red velvet cloth was embroidered in 1887 by Parson János Móricz’s wife with patterns of bread, grape and grain running along the margins.

The pipe organ encompassing 9 divisions and 8 ranks was placed in its current position in July of 1911.

Under the wooden roof, embellished by Székely-specific motifs, that decorates the western facade, stands the marble plaque in memory of the parish -martyrs who fell victim to the Second World War.

The area surrounding the tower functions as a churchyard and the exhibition place of the carved wooden column raised in memory of the 1532 national assembly of Balatonkenese.

Facing the church building is the 500 years old parsonage that currently houses the library. The new parsonage was built in 1834 with a facade characteristic of the late-baroque style.

The Reformed Church parish of Balatonkenese is one of the oldest around Lake Balaton and the whole of Hungary. It was founded most probably the reformist Dévai Bíró Mátyás around 1535.

In 1921-23 Balatonkenese became the deaconate for the Transdanubian Reformed diocese.

Facing the church building is the 500 years old parsonage, which fell under the Jesuit ownership of the ruling class in 1748 until the congregation repurchased it in 1993. The magnificent building houses the library since 1998 and one of its most unique features is the basement with its double arched ceiling that dates back to the Turkish occupation. The wooden beam ceilings and the arched white walls manage to create the perfect environment for a cozy and relaxed reading session.

The new parish, which as of late functions as a congregation house, was initially erected in 1834 in ethnic-baroque style and served as a proper parsonage for over 160 years. Along with the church itself, it has become the landmark of the city due to its characteristic “peasant-baroque”-style facade facing the street.


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