Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom)#9 in Best Things To Do in Budapest
The neo-Gothic Matthias Church in Castle Hill has been around for centuries and, in many ways, its history corresponds to that of Budapest itself. Built in the 13th century, Matthias was the city's first parish church. However, it was transformed into a mosque during the 1541 Ottoman occupation and remained an Islamic place of worship until the Turkish expulsion nearly 150 years later. Today, tourists come to admire its imposing architecture, take in its historical symbolism and spend some time studying its impressive artwork.
Recent visitors said the church's architecture is striking and the informational place cards throughout the property give you a sense of its expansive history. Don't forget to check out the Ecclesiastical Art Collection, also housed inside. You can see the medieval crypt where 10th-century King Béla III and his wife Agnes are buried, as well replicas of royal jewels and other religious artifacts. And if you enjoy organs, the church's (with 7,771 pipes and 18 bells) is regularly the star of on-site concerts and shows.
You can visit the church from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Church services are free to attend, but non-worshippers need tickets to enter. Passes cost 1,500 forints (about $6) for adults and 1,000 forints (roughly $4) for seniors and students. Family tickets for two adults and one child are also available for 3,500 forints (approximately $13.50), and kids younger than 6 get in for free. To see the inside of the church tower, you'll need to pay an extra 1,000 to 1,500 forints. Additional charges apply for guided tours. The easiest way to reach the property is to take the No. 16 bus or walk from nearby sights like Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion. For more information, visit the church's website.
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#1 Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya)
Located in the historic district of Castle Hill, Fisherman's Bastion is a neo-Gothic terrace that looks like a structure taken straight out of a fairy tale. Designed and built in 1905 by Frigyes Schulek – the same architect who built the adjacent Matthias Church – Fisherman's Bastion is named after the medieval guild of fishermen who protected Budapest from invasion.
Visitors say Fisherman's Bastion's gleaming white structure provides panoramic views of the city: From here, you can snap some breathtaking pictures of the Danube River, Margaret Island and Pest. Also save time for exploring the sight's seven ornate turrets, which symbolize the tents of the seven Magyar leaders who settled the Carpathian Basin, ultimately leading to the existence of modern-day Hungary.
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