Budapest Sights


Belvárosi plébánia templom (Inner City Parish Church)

Belvárosi plébánia templom (Inner City Parish Church) Review

Dating to the 12th century, this is the oldest—and, in terms of architectural history, the most extraordinary—ecclesiastical building in Pest. It's actually built on even older structures–an 11th-century Romanesque church commissioned by Hungary's first king, Saint Stephen, plus the remains of the Contra Aquincum (a third-century Roman fortress and tower), parts of which are visible. There is hardly any architectural style that cannot be found in some part or another, starting with a single Romanesque arch in its south tower. The single nave, with an equally high transept and unusually slender columns, still has its original Gothic chancel and some frescoes from the 14th–15th centuries. Two side chapels contain beautifully carved Renaissance altarpieces and tabernacles of red marble from the early 16th century. During Budapest's Turkish occupation the church served as a mosque—a mihrab, a Muslim prayer niche, is a reminder. During the 18th century the church was given two baroque towers and its present facade. In 1808 it was enriched with a rococo pulpit. From 1867 to 1875 Franz Liszt lived in a town house a few steps away, where he held regular "musical Sundays" at which Richard and Cosima Wagner were frequent guests. Liszt's own musical Sunday mornings often began in this church. He conducted many masses here, including the first Budapest performance of his Missa Choralis in 1872. The church contains the relics of Saint Gellért, the bishop who was initially buried here in 1046 after pagans pushed him off a hill across the river. And in 2006 the relics of the legendary 11th-century Hungarian king, Saint László, found their way here as well. Talkative, sweet little old ladies receive you at the door and hand out brochures (which include English-language text).

    Contact Information

  • Address: District V, Március 15 tér 2, Around Váci utca, Budapest | Map It
  • Phone: 1/318–3108
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Weekdays 9–7, weekends during services
  • Metro M3: Ferenciek tere.
  • Location: Around Váci utca
Updated: 06-22-2011

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