Sunday, November 18, 2012

Matyas Church, Budapest

Officially the Buda Church of Our Lady, the Matyas Church is the centerpiece of the castle district. The first church was built in the mid-1200s, with a later Gothic church replacing it in the 15th century. When the Turks invaded, it was turned into a mosque. It was substantially rebuilt in a neo-Baroque style 87 years after the Turks were defeated in 1686. The church was the site of Franz Joseph's coronation in 1867. During World War II, the German occupying army used it as a kitchen. During the Cold War, the occupying Soviets used it as a stable. In 1970 it was restored as a historical monument. The Matyas or Matthias name comes from King Matthias who reigned in the 15th century and oversaw the new church building.

The exterior is striking in its whiteness, especially on a day full of sunshine.

Matyas Church, Budapest

Southwestern corner view

Statue of saints outside the church

For a small fee one can go inside and see the amazing mosaics, stained glass, and some exhibits about the history of the church and some works of art.

Side altar on entering the church

Main altar

Main altar

Many fine mosaics adorn the church.

Mosaic of Magyar Saints

Up a staircase (which Jacob loved) is a gallery for viewing the church and a small exhibit of art treasures from the history of the church and some fine statuary.

Windy stairs!

Crown Jewels of Hungary (copies, that is)

Queen Elizabeth from the 1800s

The only trick here is that after walking through the gallery, visitors go down another staircase and then are out on the street again. There was no way to backtrack! We were getting hungry, so we began our search for a good place to eat on the Castle Hill.

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