Diocesan Collection and Visitor Centre JÁNOS SZILY

One of the most spectacular masterpieces of Szombathely is open for visitors.

About us

About us

Welcome to the homepage of the Diocesan Collection and Visitor Centre János Szily.

János Szily (1777-1799), the first bishop of Szombathely was a devout prelate of excellent abilities, strong will, great organisational skills and profound ecclesial sense. His main task was to deepen the religious life of priests and believers. As the first act of his period he issued the so-called ‘Instructio’ (instructions) which regulated the priests’ and believers’ most urgent tasks in a thorough and specific way for a spiritual renewal. At that time there was no legal code of that kind and quality in any Hungarian dioceses.

He immediately started to establish the Priest Seminary at the beginning of his service in the year of his appointment because he knew the desired spiritual renewal would be impossible without educated priests of an exemplary life. Then he invited highly educated teachers and put a premium on establishing the so-called Cathedral Library for his seminary students. The collection of the Cathedral Library is housed in the rooms decorated with frescoes by Stephan Dorffmaister. This beautiful artistic library space created a welcoming atmosphere for the self-instruction, intellectual and spiritual education of priests and seminarians. The conscious fostering of priestly vocations and the support of priestly training enabled Bishop Szily to fill in more and more vacant clergy positions. Moreover, when it was allowed by a decree issued by the Emperor, he established 65 new parish and more than 20 chaplaincy positions. This is more than in any other dioceses of Hungary that time. By ordering the compulsory use of a new, coherent catechism he gave a real boost to the spiritual life in the diocese.

Besides his spiritual and church organising activities János Szily significantly contributed to the town’s intellectual and cultural life. He founded numerous cultural institutions, e.g. the ‘Sala Terrena’ which was the first lapidarium (public collection, first museum) in Hungary. In the ‘Sala Terrena’ he collected those valuable antique artifacts that had been found at different excavation sites in Szombathely. At that time there was no such institution in Hungary, not even in Budapest. Furthermore, the establishment of the Public Library, the Secondary Grammar School, the Lyceum, and even the first printing house of Szombathely, the Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace, the Seminary mentioned before and the Eölbey house are all connected to his name. These buildings along with their paintings and interior decoration are all the pride of today’s Szombathely. Bishop Szily set the town of less than 3000 inhabitants in the way of a real urban development and thus earned the title of ‘the second founder of Szombathely’ from the grateful posterity. This title obliges us all the more to be diligent and responsible caretakers of the precious heritage passed down to us by Bishop Szily.

Opening hours, Tickets and prices

Opening hours, Tickets and prices

Tickets and prices

ADULTS: 2000 HUF/person
ADULTS: 1000 HUF/person
- 1000 HUF/person

Opening hours

Tuesday 9 - 17
Wednesday 9 - 17
Thursday 9 - 17
Friday 9 - 17
Saturday 9 - 17

The Episcopal palace can be visited by guided tours. Group visits must be booked in advance.

The visit of the palace and museum is free for children under 10.

Guided visits start at: 9:30; 11:00; 12:30; 14:00; 15:30

The cathedral’s towers can be visited by guided tours. Group visits must be booked in advance. Guided visits start at: 11:00; 13:00; 14:30; 16:00

Book a guided visit:

Contact details for booking a guided visit:

06/94 - 790-228