Mathias Church (Mátyás-templom)

Mathias Church
Like much of Budapest, this church has a long history of destruction and reconstruction in the architectual style of the moment. It sits at the high point of Castle Hill, its towers dominating the skyline. First a Gothic church in the 13th Century, it was enlarged during the reign of Matthias Corvinus who ruled from 1458-90. Known as "the just", he reunited Hungary after years of feudal bickering.

He married twice here, the second to Beatrice of Aragon who instilled an interest in art and architecture, bringing with her the Renaissance spirit. He expanded the church and is variously stated to have commissioned one or both of the major towers.

Between 1541-1686, under Turkish Rule, the Church was converted to a mosque. The sacred art was covered by scenes from the Koran and the fine furniture removed and destroyed in large part. Attempts to restore the church after the Turks were ousted were unsuccessful until the late 19th Century when architect Frigyes Schulek recreated the church in a neo gothic style. The original frescoes were uncovered and he added the famous gargoyles and beautiful multicolored diamond pattern roof tiles.

The interior is decorated with paintings by famous 19th Century Hungarian artists including Karoly Lotz. There are beautiful rose windows and altars as well as a museum containing replicas of the Hungarian royal crown and jewelry, stone carvings, and other sacred items. Some of the relics date back to King Bela III in the 13th Century.

The church has functioned for royal weddings and coronations for hundreds of years. The last 2 Habsburg kings were coronated here. Today, besides being a functioning church, there are frequent concerts and recitals because of the good acoustics. It was also a filming location for a horror movie by Michele Soavi entitled, unsurprisingly, The Church.

  • Phone: (+36 1) 489-0717
  • Directions: In the Castle District, next to Fisherman's Bastion. 'Varbusz' service from Moszkva ter metro to Szentharomsag ter or bus #16 from Deak F. ter to Disz ter.




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