Kristina, our Budapest guide, said simply, “There are two types of people in Budapest. One type lives on the Buda side, the other wishes they lived on the Buda side.” Mátyás-templom (Matthias Church) is located on the Buda side in the Castle District. The proper name of the church is Nagyboldogasszony templom (The Church of Our Lady) and was built mid-13th century, but like most of Europe, has been frequently restored, repaired, and remodeled in whatever popularity the style, as much of Buda is referred to as ecclectic.
Used as a mosque in 1541, during Turkish occupation until 1686 when they were thrown out. The story goes that they had plastered up a statue of Mary and the baby Jesus, and during final battle, the Turks crapped out, when they blew through the plaster and the Madonna miraculously appeared! The restoration between 1874 and 1896, by architect Frigyes Schulek with fresco designs by two painters (Károly Lotz and Bertalan Székely) to the tune of roughly $20 million (U.S.) appeared to be another miracle.
The fresco work is absolutely beautiful, beyond belief. I was reading Paul Johnson’s Art History and he devotes a whole chapter to the medieval. I am so impressed with this church because it falls into the term we refer to as Gothic, with all the vaulting, here absolutely light and airy.
The name Matthais comes from the jolly king, who put his money where his mouth was. I used various sources to get this info including Wikipedia, Fodors and several tourist sites. –You didn’t think I was that smart?