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"Matthias Church" Mathias Church - Mátyás Templom Tip by gigina

Officially known as The Church of Our Lady, Budapest’s St. Matthias Church, like many of the city’s ecclesiastical structures, has a long and complicated history.

About the Church
Located in the heart of the Castle District, Matthias Church was built in the 13th century and was Budapest’s first parish church. However, the original church structure changed many times as it was constantly being renovated and refashioned in the popular architectural style of each era.

The church takes its more common name from King Matthias, who ruled from 1458-90, well-known as a patron of the arts and enlightenment and revered for reconstructing the Hungarian state after years upon years of feudal anarchy. Matthias donated the two grand towers of the church and you’ll find his crest emblazoned on the south tower.

In 1541, when the Turks captured Buda, The Church of Our Lady became a mosque. The ruling regime shipped precious ecclesiastical treasures off to Bratislava and, appallingly, whitewashed over the ornate frescoes that graced the walls of the church. Beautiful interior furnishings were stripped out and discarded. When the Turks were overthrown in 1686, local architects and builders made attempts to restore the church in the popular Baroque style of the era. Most consider the attempts a failure. In the late 19th century, architect Frigyes Schulek is credited with largely restoring St. Matthias Church to its original splendour. Schulek adhered to the original 13th century plans for the church and also uncovered a number of original Gothic elements lost for centuries. He added magnificent diamond patterned roof tiles and gargoyles, which visitors can still admire today. Throughout the centuries, the church has remained a preferred site for celebratory events, such as royal weddings and coronations.

About the Museum
Once inside the church, a favourite stopping place of most visitors is the Ecclesiastical Art Museum. Beginning in the medieval crypt and leading up to St. Stephen Chapel, guests can view replicas of the Hungarian Royal Crown and other coronation jewels, medieval stone carvings, and a number of other beautiful sacred relics such as old chalices and vestments.

Address: Orszaghaz utca 14
Directions: Castle District, Buda side
Phone: +36 1 355 5657

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 22, 2009
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