Officially named the Church of Our Lady, this famous landmark in Budapest's Castle District is better known as Matthias Church after the much-loved 15th-century Renaissance king who contributed the towers and was married here.
History of Matthias Church
The Church of Our Lady was built in the mid-13th century, but was frequently restored, repaired, and remodeled in the whatever architectural style was in fashion at the time.
The last two Hungarian Habsburg kings were crowned in the Matthias Church: Franz Joseph in 1867 (Liszt wrote and performed his Coronation Mass for the occasion) and Charles IV in 1916.
What to See at Matthias Church
Most of the exterior of Matthias Church was added around 1896 in a Gothic style. The interior is decorated with works by two outstanding 19th-century Hungarian painters, Károly Lotz and Bertalan Székely. The wall left of the entrance represents the Renaissance, while the wall across from the entrance has Eastern motifs to represent Ottoman rule. On the left side of the church is the tomb of St. Imre, son of King St. Istvan and heir to the throne. He was killed by a boar while hunting at the age of 19.
The religious highlight of the interior is the Loreto Chapel, with a statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ made in 1515. When Budapest was under seige from the Turks, locals plastered over the niche that contained the statue. The Ottomans used the church as their primary mosque during the occupation, but never noticed the statue. Over a century later, in 1686, an explosion of gunpowder at the castle crumbled the wall around the statue, revealing the Virgin's shining face. It is said this was the only part of town retaken from the Ottomans without a fight.
The cost of admission includes the Museum of Ecclesiastical Art in an upstairs gallery, which displays various religious art and a replica of the Hungarian crown. Organ concerts are held every other Friday evening in July and August at 8pm.
Quick Facts on Matthias Church
|Names:||Matthias Church · Mátyás Templom|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||47.502055° N, 19.034275° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Matthias Church|
- Frommer's Budapest & the Best of Hungary, 5th ed.
- Rick Steves' Best of Eastern Europe 2007, 429.
- Photos of Matthias Church - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Matthias Church, Budapest
Below is a location map and aerial view of Matthias Church. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.