A beautiful church associated with King Matthias.
Buda’s Church of the Blessed Virgin is one of the Hungarian capital’s top sights and has its origin in a sacred building which was erected between 1255 and 1269, during the time of King Béla IV. It has been remodelled numerous times since then. In the second half of the 14th century, the basilica was converted into a hall church, the aisles extended to the east and given polygonal endings, and a magnificent Gothic portal with a representation of the Virgin Mary’s death in the tympanum erected on the southern façade. Charles Robert of Anjou was crowned King of Hungary in the Church of the Blessed Virgin in 1309. Side chapels, an oratory for the royal family and a new south tower were added under King Matthias, after whom the church is now named. The church fell victim to a fire in 1526 and fifteen years later, when the Turks occupied the city, it was turned into a mosque. After the expulsion of the Turks by the Austrians, the Jesuits took over the Matthias Church and renovated it in the Baroque style. Frigyes Schulekgave the Matthias Church its present form between 1874 and 1896. The Baroque architecture fell victim to his puritanical intention to restore the building’s Gothic appearance. The church suffered heavy damage at the end of the Second World War and was painstakingly rebuilt during the post-war years.
The most important survival from the Gothic church is the portal of the Virgin Mary on the south side, today protected by Schulek’s porch. The wonderful relief in the gable illustrating the Virgin Mary’s death dates from the 14th century. The entrance is flanked on either side by statues of the canonized kings Stephen and Ladislaus.