Matthias Church in Budapest, Hungary

The magnificent Matthias Church is enthroned in Budapest on the famous Buda Castle Hill and is the most famous and beautiful church in the city, not only as the coronation church of Sisi and Franz.

The eye-catching Matthias Church in the Buda district is one of the most important churches in Budapest and probably also the most famous church in the city - therefore, of course, also part of our top 10 sights of Budapest. It is located on Trinity Square in the heart of the Castle District and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Sights of Matthias Church

At night, the brightly lit Matthias Church shines over the Castle Hill of Buda, Budapest, Hungary - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

The church is distinctive for its eye-catching roof decorated with colorful tiles. In its interior, the visitor can expect magnificent frescoes and stucco decorations, as well as splendid stained glass windows created by the two most important painters of the time, Bertalan Székely and Károly Lotz. The neo-Gothic main altar of the Matthias Church is opulently decorated with dark gold.

Béla Tower and Matthias Tower

The equestrian statue of King Stephen I with the distinctive Matthias Church with its roof decorated with colorful tiles, Budapest, Hungary - © Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock
© Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock

Particularly striking about Budapest's most famous church are its two completely dissimilar towers. The left Béla tower, named after the Hungarian king when Matthias Church was first built, is barely taller than the nave itself and its tops are covered with colorful patterned tiles.

The right Matthias Tower rises 80 meters into the sky in Gothic splendor and was named after its builder King Matthias Corvinus. His coat of arms, a raven (Latin "Corvus") with a ring in its beak, adorns the east wall of the Matthias Tower and as a figure the top of a smaller turret.


If you enter the Matthias Church through the south gate, you will immediately notice the Marian Gate at the end of the vestibule, which is one of the most beautiful sculptures in the whole of Hungary and depicts the death of the Virgin Mary in relief. The headless figures the Marientor still owes to the Turks.

Loreto Chapel

Another representation of the Virgin Mary can be found in the Loreto Chapel, here in the form of a red marble statue. This is said to have been walled up and hidden from the Turks. Later, during the siege by the Christians, a powder magazine of the Turks exploded, a wall collapsed and exactly that statue of the Virgin Mary appeared in front of the kneeling Muslims - that was the day, September 2, 1686, when Budapest went back to the Christians. The apparent miracle makes the Matthias Church a place of pilgrimage to this day.

Trinity Chapel

Here is probably the most magnificent monument of Matthias Church, the richly decorated sarcophagus of King Béla III and his wife Anne de Châtillon. Originally, the royal couple was buried in the town of Székesfehérvár, but archaeologists moved their remains to the historically rich Matthias Church in 1860.

History of Matthias Church

The 80m high Gothic tower of Matthias Church was commissioned by King Matthias Corvinus, Budapest, Hungary - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

The Matthias Church, also called the Church of Our Lady, was built from the year 1255 under King Béla IV as part of the Buda Castle and Buda's first parish church. Allegedly, a place of worship had also stood on this site before, where the martyr Gellért, who is still commemorated by a statue on Gellért Hill, was buried. The basilica was completed in 1269 and has preserved its basic form until today.


In the following centuries, the Matthias Church was extended and rebuilt several times or adapted to the respective architectural epoch. The impressive church received its current name from King Matthias Corvinus, who ruled in the second half of the 15th century and extended the church with its tower, which is visible from afar.

Only a little later Buda was conquered by the Turks under Sultan Süleyman I and the Matthias Church became the Büyük Camii, the "Great Mosque" for over 150 years. The church treasure was carried off, the holy figures were decapitated and the frescoes were covered with white paint.

During the liberation of Buda in 1686, Matthias Church was almost completely destroyed and subsequently handed over to the Jesuit Order. Since the coronation of Franz-Joseph I and Elisabeth (Sisi) in 1867, Matthias Church has also been known as the Coronation Church. The coronation of Charles IV, the last Hungarian king, also took place in Matthias Church in 1916.

Last structural change

The strikingly colorful roof of Matthias Church in Budapest is the work of architect Frigyes Schulek, Hungary - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

At the end of the 19th century, the last major structural change was made by architect Frigyes Schulek, who was also responsible for the construction of the neighboring Fishermen's Bastion. From his designs come the striking pattern in the roof tiles and the gargoyles that still stare down on visitors today. After its destruction in World War II, Matthias Church was rebuilt according to these very plans and still shines in neo-Gothic splendor today.

St. Matthias Church is still used for holy masses, but also for concerts and weddings, and is open to visitors as long as they respect the silence of the place of worship.

Related links:

Official website of Matthias Church in Budapest with opening hours