The Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest

St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest

St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest ©EazyIanish/Flick

The Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest, also known as the Parish Church of Lipótváros is located in the district 5 in Pest.

It is one of the most visited attractions of the city, one of the most important Hungarian relic and the place of the Holy Right.

The history of the church begins in the early 1817, when John Zittelbach raised a small church in Lipótváros.

The idea of the present imposing neoclassical parish church already existed and was finally started to become a reality according to the plans of József Hild in 1851.

 

Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest

Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest ©Jorge Lascar/Flick

Problems with the construction

Unfortunately, at that time such constructions have rarely been done without tragedy. The workmanship and the quality problems of the building material avenged themselves and the dome collapsed. The clearing of the rubble and the demolition of the defective structure set back the construction until 1871.

The roof of Saint Stephen's Basilica

The roof of Saint Stephen’s Basilica ©Alex E. Proimos/Flick

The finished church

Miklós Ybl was entrusted with the new plans of the Saint Stephen Basilica, who meticulously supervised the work for 20 years, until his death. The construction and the decoration was finally completed after more than 50 years from the the groundbreaking ceremony, in 1905. Franz Joseph I was also present at the placement of the keystone of this magnificent church in 1906.

St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest

St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest ©EazyIanish/Flick

Various damages of the basilica

The walls and the roof of the church consecrated to Saint Stephen were also damaged in the Second World War. During the repair work on the roof it burned down and the unfortunate fate of the dome continued when in the 80s, a storm ripped off the metal plating of the building and it became again life threatening.

The reconstruction of the church

The peace of the St. Stephen Cathedral finally came in 2003, when the church could shine again in its previous splendor after a meticulous reconstruction of twenty years. A lookout with a magnificent panorama was also built in the dome and the church received a brand new decorative lighting.

View from the dome of the St. Stephen Basilica

View from the dome of the St. Stephen Basilica ©Jorge Lascar/Flick

The third largest building of the country has a capacity of nearly eight thousand people and on its facade you will see the words of Christ in Latin: “Ego sum via, veritas et vita” , which means “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. The interior of the Saint Stephen basilica is not accidentally a famous tourists destination. The monumental atmosphere of the church is enriched by different monuments, art masterpieces and you will find there one of the most important national treasures, the relic of Saint Stephen, the Holy Right.

The interior of the Saint Stephen Basilica

The interior of the Saint Stephen Basilica ©J Luoh/Flick

The bells of the basilica

The 6 bells of the Saint Stephen Church definitely worth a mention. The Saint Stephen great bell of the south tower is not only the biggest bell of the church, but with its 9 tones and two and a half meters diameter is the largest bell of Hungary. The smaller bells of the church are located in the north tower.

The church has an important role in the life and the history of the city. This was the place of the Eucharistic Congress in 1938 and even Pope John Paul II was there at the funeral ceremony of the sport legend Ferenc Puskas.

 

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