Medieval treasures in NSZL’s Manuscript Collection

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National Széchényi Library, Buda Castle, “F” Building, Floor 6, Manuscript Collection


The Manuscript Collection of National Széchényi Library keeps approximately 700 codices, i.e. medieval, hand-written books, several pieces of which have been presented to the general public at various temporary exhibitions of the Library.

Our permanent chamber exhibition aims at giving a comprehensive view of this priceless collection. Taking into consideration stock preservation requirements and aspects, including safety from physical exposure and sensitivity to humidity or heat, the original codices are and will be kept in repository. In the showcases, you will see same-size quality reproduced copies of the original manuscripts.


The first four thematic units of the exhibition are already open to our visitors.

In the first showcase, we present Hungarian-language relics including the earliest text relic of the Hungarian language called Funeral Sermon and Prayer (Halotti beszéd és könyörgés) as well as the earliest poem in Hungarian, The lament of Mary (Ómagyar Mária-siralom). The second showcase contains important relics of the legislation, historiography and hagiography of medieval Hungary. Here you can see, among others, the earliest manuscript of the laws of King St. Stephen, the so-called Admonti kódex (Codex of Admont) and the exceptionally richly illustrated Képes Krónika (Illuminated Chronicle). In the third showcase, we placed liturgical manuscripts including Pray-kódex (Pray Codex) featuring the Funeral Sermon and Prayer.


Among the richly illuminated codices placed in the fourth, fifth and sixth showcases, you can see corvinas, corvina bindings and manuscripts made for the clergy, all of them originating from the library of King Matthias.


Next to the reproduced copies, you will find the description of the manuscript which contains the most important information about the exhibited item.