The Matthias Church in Budapest has been the scene of prominent events in Hungarian history for centuries. For example, Charles Robert was crowned here in 1309, and the kings crowned in Székesfehérvár were presented here to the people of the capital. We also know of this beautiful, robust building that the dead rulers were buried here, and this church was the scene of royal vows and federal oaths.
If you have the opportunity, be sure to visit the Buda Castle District. It is much more exciting to admire the temple if we know more about it. Magyarorszagom has therefore gathered 10 interesting things that most people do not know about the fabulous Matthias Church.
1. Origin of the name
Perhaps it does not surprise anyone, but the Matthias Church got its name from Matthias Hunyadi because he was certainly the most generous supporter during the construction of the church. The 80-metre southern tower also bears his name, as he ordered its reconstruction and the placing of his coat of the raven. Matthias married there twice. The name of the Bride’s Gate preserves the memory of his marriage with Beatrix of Aragon.
2. This is the oldest church in Budapest
Its construction began in 1255 during the reign of Bela the Fourth shortly after the Mongol campaign of 1241-42. This is also evidenced by the fact that one of the towers bears his name. The church was originally built in the medieval Gothic style.
3. The coronation church of Hungary
Charles I., Francis Joseph I., and Charles IV. were crowned here. In the past, symbols and flags of major military campaigns were also held in the church.
4. The Church of the Assumption
Stephen I., the first Christian ruler of our country, offered Hungary to the Virgin Mary, who thus became the patron saint of Hungarians. That is why the statue of Mary, bearing a copy of the Holy Crown, was placed on the main altar.
5. It was once used as a mosque
During the 150-year Turkish occupation, the Matthias Church was the main mosque of Buda. After the siege of Buda in 1541, the Turks demolished the furniture, painted the walls white, and covered the sacred texts with quotations from the Koran. Later (also in the hand of the Turks), it also functioned as a stable and armoury.
6. Midday bell
It is believed that the midday bell was first rung in the tower of this church, which the pope ordered after the world-famous triumph of Nándorfehérvár in 1456. Although this has not yet been substantiated, it is certain that from 1994 to 2011, the bell of St. Charles of the Matthias Church sounded on the Hungarian Television every noon.
7. The final resting place of a noble couple
The remains of Béla III. and his wife Anna of Antioch (Châtillon) were found in Székesfehérvár. Later, they were placed in their final resting place in the Matthias Church.
8. The Coronation Mass of Ferenc Liszt was played here for the first time
The world-famous pianist and composer wrote the Mass to Franz Joseph I., who later supported the renovation of the royal organ with a large sum of money. Today, there are plenty of people visiting the city’s largest organ to hear its unique, inimitable sounds.
9. Handmade Zsolnay pots
The handmade, colourful ceramic tiles of the church were made by the Zsolnay Porcelain Manufactory.
10. The destruction of World War II
During World War II, the city suffered serious damages, but fortunately, there were treasures that they managed to save. Such was the case with the stained glass windows made by Bertalan Székely and Károly Lotz, which were hidden from the church during the war, so the originals can still be seen on the southern side of the church.