My favorite (catholic) churches in Hungary


Of course I haven´t visited all the churches in Hungary and also I don´t have any plans to do so, but I think there are 3 of them I should list here due to their size and historical importance.

Budapest´s Saint Stephen´s Basilica (Szent István-bazilika)

I have posted already some pictures of this huge church here and also there is a post about the foundation of Hungary where you can find more information about Saint Stephen, the king of Hungary between 975 and 1038.

It is a Roman Catholic church in Neo-Classical style built along 54 years, ending only  in 1905. Inside you will find a beautiful golden cupola and frescoes,  the right hand of Saint Stephen and a special organ, played by the best national organists.

The square in front of Saint Stephen´s is a place always full of tourists and trying to make the best pictures. It is a very massive and tall building in downtown and the view from Zrinyi Street in my opinion is the best. Alternatively, you can take good pictures also from Buda side, from the top of Budavár hill. You can make good pictures from there, specially in the evening using a tripod.

Also you can go up and visit the tower and dome. I have to say I´ve never been there, but it should be great the panorama view from there.

Also, around the square you will find nice souvenirs stores and restaurants. My favorite restaurant in town is just 100m from this church. It is worth to check if you are starving in the neighborhood and make sure you don´t miss the foie gras:  Cafe Kör (http://www.cafekor.com/ 1051 Budapest, Sas u. 17. Tel:+3613110053)

The website of the Basilica in HUngarian is: http://bazilika.biz

Esztergom Basilica

I´d visited already 3 times Esztergom. It is on the north of Hungary, at the bend of Danube River and board with Slovakia.

800px-Esztergom.bazilika.lightsThis Basilica is the seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary and before the present building, the place hosted several other churches since the age of King St. Stephen. At that time it was dedicated to Saint Adalbert. The churches were destroyed and rebuilt several times since then, but some old parts are still preserved.

The current Basilica is the biggest building in Hungary and one of the biggest churches in the world. The construction started in 1822 and it took around 50 years to be concluded.

The altar paintings are the work of the Venetian master Michelangelo Grigoletti. The frescoes were painted by a master from Munich Ludwig von Moralt. The statues were carved by the Italian sculptors Pietro Bonani and Pietro della Vedova, and by the Austrian Johann Meixner. Three Hungarian sculptors also worked for the basilica: the statue of St. Stephen the martyr is the work of István Ferenczy, the large statue of János Simor is that of Alajos Strobl.

The style is mixed and eclectic, even though was planned to be classical. The crypt was built in 1831 in Old Egyptian style.

If you are in the country for some days and want to explore more than Budapest, Esztergom is a good option, only 50km away. There are different ways to get there, here I list some of them:

–         By car crossing the Pillis Mountains (road 10)

–         By car parallel to Danube river and crossing several small villages, including Szentendre and Visegrád , two interesting destinations to be considered also (road 11)

–         By boat: you can take a boat in Budapest and go to the North to Esztergom – it must be amazing this option, eventhough I guess is not the cheapest one!

When in town, if you are looking for a restaurant, check Mediterraneo Vendégfogadó (http://www.mediterraneo.hu/ , Helischer József út 2, Tel:06 70 521-2135). My favorite there!

To find the church: 2500 Esztergom Szent István Square 1. Tel: +36-33-402-354  http://www.bazilika-esztergom.hu/oldal.php?nyelv=angol&oldal=1

Matthias Church in Budapest (Mátyás-templom)

This is not the biggest church in Hungary, but it is for sure one of the most beautiful and visited in Budapest. Located in the old town, up the Castle District, Matthias Church is in front the Fishermen`s Bastion.

hThe current building is Gothic, after the renovation done in century XIX by Frigyes Schulek , but it was not always like that since the first church was built more than 700 years ago. The church was also used as a mosque during the Turkish domination during the century XVI, when the frescoes were covered or destroyed, also it had been restored a few times and the styles are mixed as well.

The church dedicated to Our Lady was renamed in honor to King Matthias Corvinus (1443 – 1490). Various coronations and important celebrations were held there.

When I went there last time, I had the impression that no religious ceremonies are held there anymore. It was under renovation that time. I don´t know if they finished or not.

It is home to the Ecclesiastical Art museum which begins in the medieval crypt and leads up to the Saint Stephen Chapel. The gallery contains a number of sacred relics and medieval stone carvings, along with replicas of the HUngarian Royal Crown and coronation jewels.

Further information, check: http://www.matyas-templom.hu/eng/idegenforgalom.html

Other big churches in Hungary:

bazilika belsoPECS – I had never been to Pecs, but it is on my list for 2013. Checking the website below (and the picture on the left), I am sure that it will be listed soon among my favorites as well.

http://www.pecsipuspokseg.hu/pecsi_bazilika

EGER – I´d been there. It is enormous but it is not as nice as the others listed above.

http://www.joutrip.com/the-basilica-of-eger-p95

Sources:

http://www.budapest.com/city_guide/culture/churches/mathias_church.en.html

http://visitbudapest.travel/guide/budapest-attractions/matthias-church/

Wikipedia and other websites mentioned along the text.

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