TOP 10 FACTS ABOUT MATTHIAS CHURCH

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1) THE OLDEST CHURCH IN BUDAPEST. Its construction began back in 1255 under the reign of King Béla IV, right after the Mongol Invasion in 1241-42. He originally had it built in Gothic style in the middle ages. The northern bulky tower is named after him.

2) THE OFFICIAL CORONATION CHURCH IN THE HISTORY OF HUNGARY. Charles Robert (1308), Franz Joseph I (1867) and Charles IV (1916) the last Habsburg ruler were crowned here. There also used to be a tradition to place the victory emblems and flags of important military campaigns in the church.

3) THE "CHURCH OF OUR LADY". St Stephen I, our first Christian king offered the country to the patronage of the Virgin Mary, that way she became the patron saint of Hungary and hence the wooden statue of the Madonna on the High Altar crowned with a replica of St Stephen's Holy Crown. The original one can be viewed in the Hungarian Parliament.

4) USED TO BE THE MAIN MOSQUE UNDER THE TURKISH OCCUPATION OF BUDA. Hungary used to be oppressed by the Turks for roughly 150 years and they caused enormous devastation. After the siege of Buda in 1541, they occupied the capital and the church. The furnishing was destroyed, the walls were whitewashed and covered with passages from the Koran. Later they even used it as a stable and as an arsenal.

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5) PLACE OF ETERNAL REST FOR 12th-CENTURY ROYAL COUPLE FROM HOUSE ARPAD. The mortal remains of King Béla III and his wife Anne were found during excavations in Székesfehérvár and finally rest in peace in the Holy Trinity Chapel sarcophagi.

6) NAMED AFTER OUR BELOVED AND JUST RENAISSANCE KING, MATTHIAS. He probably contributed most to the construction work of the church. The 80-metre tall southern tower is named after him since he had had it rebuilt and had his coat of arms with the raven placed there as well. Matthias (1443-90) got married here twice, to Beatrix of Naples the second time, the name Bride Gate on the southern wall reminds us of the event.

7) FRANZ LISZT'S WELL-KNOWN CORONATION MASS WAS PRESENTED IN THE CHURCH FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. The world famous pianist and composer wrote the Mass for the coronation of Franz Joseph I who later donated a huge amount for the renovation of the royal organ. Today it has more than 7700 pipes and attract many people who wish to enjoy the sound of the city's largest instrument of its kind. A Christmas concert in Matthias Church - is something divine.

8) PRICELESS HANDMADE ROOF TILES BY OUR WORLD FAMOUS ZSOLNAY FACTORY. The ornate, colourful and handmade ceramic tiles were manufactured in the stunning Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture.

9) SOME TREASURES SURVIVED THE DEVASTATION OF WWII. The beautiful stained glass windows designed by Károly Lotz and Bertalan Székely incredibly survived the war thanks to the fact that they had been removed and hidden during the war. Thus one can admire the original ones on the southern wall.

10) MORE FACTS OF INTEREST. Detailed and numbered church plan available ONLINE.

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