Matthias Church (Biserica Matthias)

Matthias Church is one of the most important touristic attractions located in the Hungarian capital city, Budapest.

Initially, on this site another church was founded (between 1255 and 1269) during the reign of King Bela IV. Throughout time, the church underwent several reconstructions. Different sections of the edifice had been extended; these were developed in a polygonal shape at the end of the 14th century.

The entrance door which contains a beautiful bas-relief that illustrates the Death of the Virgin Mary dates from the same period.

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Important events occurred within the walls of the church. For example, Charles Robert of Anjou had been crowned king in this church in 1309, thus becoming King Carol I of Hungary.

The name of the church is given after King Matthias, who had made several modifications to the edifice. He added lateral chapels, an oratory for the royal family and a new tower (to the southern wing). It was in this specific tower that the weapons of Matei Corvin were sheltered in 1470. However, at present, the weaponry is located within the church.

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1526 was a fatidic year as the edifice was destroyed in a fire. The edifice shifts “religions” as 15 years later, during the Turkish domination, it is transformed into a mosque. But after the Turks are driven away, the Matthias Church undergoes massive renovation work, conducted by the Jesuits, who rename the edifice The Coronation Church. The building followed the Baroque architectural style.

The church is once again chosen as the site of royal coronation in 1867 when Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and his wife Elizabeth (also known as “Sissi”) have been crowned king and queen of Hungary.

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Another reconstruction occurred between 1874 and 1896, this time in a Gothic style. In fact,  the appearance conveyed to the church at that time is still noticeable today, as the church has been preserved as such.

World War II badly damaged the edifice, but Matthias Church was restored, a project that took many years to be completed. The work had to be done attentively and patiently if the former design was to be preserved. On each side of the entrance door, you can notice a statue: the statue of King Stephan I and of King Ladislau I.

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The interior design comprises a diversified array of geometrical shapes and floral ornaments which are reminiscent of the former mosque that existed here. The frescoes and the strained-glass windows, together with the neo-gothic altar date from the 1890s.

Matthias Church is also the home of the Ecclesiastical Art Museum where a multitude of objects are on display. Among the most valuable ones, tourists can admire a medieval crypt, the Saint Stephan’s Chapel, royal pieces of jewelry dating from the medieval time, sacred relics, as well as replicas of the Hungarian Royal Crown.

 

Visiting Hours:

Daily from 9:00 to 18:00

Price:

400 Hungarian Forints