St. Stephen Basilica
5+1 fun facts on the largest Catholic church of Budapest
St. Stephen Basilica is a gem of 19th century architecture in Budapest. Although most of the buildings you see in the city today have been erected in the second half of the 19th century, Basilica stands out. It is not surprising, since it was designed by 3 of the most famous architects of the era.
Historicism was the prevailing fashion in architecture that time in Budapest, a style that combines elements of historic styles like gothic, renaissance and baroque. Using the best parctice from architecture of thousands of years of history, magnificient buildings have been created.
Most features of the Basilica originates from Italian Renaissance, the style that centered in Florence in the 15th and 16th century. It used a new sense of light, clarity and spaciousness, as opposed to the darkness and spirituality of the Middle Ages.
Construction work of the Basilica took 50 years due to lack of funds and design flaws. 5 decades were considered a long time in the 19th century, when even a whole new capital could have been built in that time. Still Hungarians, especially the people of Budapest were comitted to complete the building.
When a church is this big and significant and the history of Europe is as turbulent as it was in the 19th and 20th centuries, then the building bears witness to a lots of things.
Let’s see 5+1 fun facts:
No. 1. – The Flood
It was built on a small hill where hundreds of people survived an icy flood of the Danube river in the 19th century.
The bottom of the Danube was full of sandbars that time, so floating ice often got stuck in the late winter – early spring months. The water flow was interrupted and the river flooded Budapest, causing severe damages. there was an especially bad flood in the spring of 1838.
No. 2. – The Height
With a height of 96 meters, it’s been the tallest building in Budapest. Only 1 building exceeds its height currently, the new headquater of a big Hungarian oil company.
No. 3. -The Collapse
Its huge dome collapsed during the construction work due to the poor quality of the building materials. It was a miracle that noone was killed or even injured.
The construction work was ceased for an entire year while cleaning and redesigning took another 2 years.
No.4. – The Hand
The right hand of St. Stephen, 1st king of the country is exhibited in the Basilica. It’s called the Holy Right and people think it has a magic power.
No. 5. – The Bell
The biggest bell in Hungary can be found in this church. Its weight exceeds 9000 kgs. It was donated by German religious communities in 1990, because the old bell was taken for war purposes in WW2.
+1 – The Game:
One of the greatest soccer players of all time and the 1st international superstar of the sport, Pancho Ferenc Puskás is burried in this church.
He was born into a working-class family with German origins in Hungary. As a child, he kicked a rag ball with his buddies in the streets of an industrual zone of the Budapest, where he grew up. He became a major player of the Hungarian national teamby the age of 23. He left Hungary in the communist era and played with Real Madrid and also with the Spanish national team. He is the 7th top goal scorer of all time with a total of 806 goals in 793 official games in his career.
If you want to explore this beautiful building, check the opening hours and entrance ticket prices here.
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