Why visit: history, architecture, concerts, mass
A Brief History of Matthias Church
The historic Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) is over 700 years old. The church was the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in 1916, the last Habsburg king. It was also the venue for the great Hungarian King Matthias' two weddings, hence its name.
The history of the church serves as a symbol of the city’s rich past. The eastern gate of the church was built in the 13th century, when Buda was founded following the Mongolian invasion. The central part of the church was built around 1400, and from as early as the 14th century, monarchs were crowned here as kings. In the 15th century, King Matthias’ royal wedding was also held here. During the Turkish conquest, soon after Buda was captured, the church became the city’s main mosque. The walls were whitewashed and covered with carpets. After the Turkish occupation, Buda lay in ruins. In the 17th century, an attempt was made to restore the church in Baroque style.
Following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867, Matthias Church was the scene of a big coronation ceremony when Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth were crowned, and thus the Austro-Hungarian Empire was established. Towards the end of the 19th century, a major reconstruction took place, and the building was restored using many original parts and regained much of its former splendor. The roof is covered with the famous Zsolnay ceramic tiles, making the building even more beautiful. Today, Matthias Church remains one of the city’s most prominent buildings. During his stay in Hungary in 1991, Pope John Paul II visited the church.
Things to Do and See at Matthias Church
Matthias Church is one of the oldest buildings in Buda. It’s not only a church, but a museum as well. It’s frescoes are the works of famous Hungarian painters. Every year, the church hosts several concerts featuring Hungarian and foreign musicians. One of the most popular concert series is called the “Sunday Organ Nights at the Matthias Church”. Since it’s located on Castle Hill, there are many other sights nearby that are worth visiting. Castle Hill is also great for walks and admiring the beautiful buildings while following the cobblestone streets, which maintain their medieval courses.
Insider Tip: There is an entrance fee to visit the church, which includes entry to the museum as well. If you would like to pray or simply enjoy a moment of silence, the sacred chapel is open all day, free of charge.