The Fantastic Painting of Matthias Church, Budapest

mattias church main altar
The main altar, framed by fantastic painting.

The Matthias Church at the top of the Buda castle hill has been through many iterations since the first church was built on the site in 1015. The first building was destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th Century. The current building, in Gothic style, was built to replace that Romanesque building.

mattias church side altar
When you enter the church on the side door, this is the first chapel altar that you see. I took this photo when we were here two years ago, which was lucky, because the altar painting looks as though it was damaged by water or some settling. It's currently being restored again.
mattias church altar painting
The chapel fresco on the opposite side of the main altar from the chapel above. Not as decorative. More didactic. I believe this is the burial of Saint Stephen.

That building was eventually turned into a mosque by the conquering Ottomans in the 16th Century. The frescoes were whitewashed and the interior furnishings were destroyed or moved to other cities. When the Christians recaptured the city in the 17th Century it was restored in a baroque style, which thankfully was tossed out in the late 19th Century in favor of the current decoration by architect Frigyes Schulek.

mattias church altar piece
A detail of the main altar piece.
mattias church organ
The organ, as seen from the gallery on the left side of the nave.
mattias church view across transept
A view across the transept. Actually, there's not much of a transept. I'm just imagining one passing in front of the main altar.
mattias church view across nave
A view in the other direction, toward the back of the church.
mattias church angel fresco from gallery
An angel fresco, framed by the decorative columns of the gallery windows.
mattias church ceiling evangelists
The ceiling in front of the altar, the traditional location of paintings of the symbols of the four evangelists.

The church was severely damaged in World War II as both the Germans and Soviets used it as a camp. The building was restored somewhat during the subsequent years. Finally, the interior decoration was restored between 2006-2013. And that's what we see today.

And what we see today adds up to one of our very favorite churches we've ever seen on our travels.

12 thoughts on “The Fantastic Painting of Matthias Church, Budapest”

  1. Wonderful photos. I love the gorgeous colors. I had gone into this church 23 years ago but don’t remember it’s beauty. The burial of St. Stephen
    is stunning. Church reminds me a bit of San Anastasia in Verona which I saw this weekend. It is a similar Gothic style with lightly colored frescoed patterned walls. Just sent your blog to a friend who will be in Budapest this weekend. He is grateful.


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