The Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady is generally called the Matthias Church (mpeg !) , because its southern tower bears the coat of arms with the raven (in Latin: Corvus) of Matthias (Corvinus) Hunyadi (1458-1490).

In the thirteenth century Buda's first parish church stood here. In the fourteenth century it was rebuilt as a Gothic hall church, but its construction, just as that of so many Gothic churches in Europe, was never finished, and the northern tower was not built.

In Turkish times it became the main mosque and its interior furnishings were destroyed. During the 1686 siege its tower and roof collapsed. Later on the church was rebuilt in the Baroque style, and in the last decades of the nineteenth century Frigyes Schulek (1841-1919) reconstructed, from the excavated medieval remains, the original Gothic church, the one in which Charles Robert (1308-1342) and Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387-1437) had been crowned, and in which the wedding of King Matthias with Catherine Podebrad in 1463 and with Beatrice of Aragon in 1470 had been solemnized.

The last two kings of Hungary, Francis Joseph I and Charles IV, were also crowned in this church, in 1867 and 1916 respectively. During the Second World War the damage suffered by the church was so heavy that it took two decades to repair it.

From outside the most beautiful part of the church is the 80-meter (260 ft.) high stone-laced Gothic tower. The southern portal is decorated by a fourteenth- century relief depicting Virgin Mary's death. Inside, the plastered walls are painted with colored ornamental design. The frescoes depict the lives of Hungarian saints. In the northern part there is a series of chapels; in the one nearest to the chancel the sarcophagi of Béla III (1173-1196) and his wife Anne of Châtillon can be seen; they were brought here from Székes- fehérvár.

Near the chancel, in the former crypt, we find a museum of stonework remains, including medieval carvings. In the gallery a collection of ecclesiastical art is exhibited, containing old chalices and vestments as well as a replica of the crown of the Hungarian kings.