St. Stephen’s Basilica
V., Szent István tér, www.basilica.hu, Mo-Fr 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sa 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Su 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
It is the largest church in Budapest, the 96-metre dome of which can be seen from virtually all parts of the city. The Basilica’s construction begun in 1851, before being taken over by Miklós Ybl, one of the leading architects of the time in 1867 and completed by József Kauser in 1905. The Classicist-style building houses Hungary’s most sacred relic: the Holy Right, which is the mummified right hand of St. Stephen, after whom the Basilica was named. Famous masterpieces in the church include statues by Alajos Stróbl and a painting of St. Stephen offering his country to the Virgin Mary by Gyula Benczúr.
I., Szentháromság tér, Mo-Sa 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Su from 1 p.m. (after the mass)
The most beautiful and most well-known Catholic church in Budapest, which thanks to its outstanding location largely determines the image of the Castle District, as seen from the Pest side. Officially named as the Church of Our Lady, this royal cathedral was erected in multiple steps (between the 13th and 15th centuries). It gained its present-day neo-Gothic form in 1896, following a major reconstruction overseen by Frigyes Schulek. The frescos and stained-glass windows were made by Károly Lotz, Mihály Zichy and Bertalan Székely, the most prestigious artists of the time. From the rich collection of the church, the stone exhibition, the relic exhibition, the coronation monuments as well as the treasury boasting masterpieces of gold work as well as ecclesiastical textiles are open to the public. (The museum is currently closed due to reconstruction.)
Church of St. Elisabeth of the House of Árpád
VII., Rózsák tere. Visits every day after 5 p.m. and during masses
One of the true treasures of Budapest, this neo-Gothic church was built between 1893 and 1901 on the plans of Imre Steindl. Its impressive towers are 76 metes high. At the apex of the pediment stands a statue of St. Elisabeth. The church interior was designed by notable artists of the time such as stained-glass artist Miksa Róth or wood sculptor Mór Höltzl. The park surrounding the church is open to visitors between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Dohány Street Synagogue
VII., Dohány u. 2., guided tours for groups every hour
The size of the building, which was inaugurated in 1659, reflects the significance of the Jewish population in the capital in that period. The synagogue was built in four years based on the plans with a Moorish style drawn up by a German architect, Ludwig Förster, who was a teacher at the academy of Vienna. Tivadar Herzl, who was a writer, journalist and a promoter of the creation of a Jewish state, was born in 1860 in the adjacent corner building, which has been pulled down since then (the Jewish Museum stands there nowadays).
V., Deák F. tér, Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., National Lutheran Museum Tue-Sun: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. In accordance with the puritanism of Protestant churches, the building, which dominates the vista of Deák Square, is characterised by the simplicity of early Classicism. It is often chosen as the venue for evening organ concerts because of its excellent acoustics. The National Lutheran Museum next to the church hosts an exhibition which introduces the history of the Reformation in Hungary.
Inner City Franciscan Church
V., Ferenciek tere, open to visitors every day.
A 13th-century a monastery and church used to be where the Franciscan Church stands today. The current beautifully decorated Baroque design dates back to the 18th century. The frescos do credit to Károly Lotz’ and Vilmos Tardos Krenner’s work.
V., Szerb utca 2-4., can be visited daily. This was built by Serbian settlers in 1698 in the Baroque style. Its interior follows the ground plan of Greek Catholic churches: the women’s church is separated from the men’s church, which is situated one step lower, with a wooden balustrade.
Calvinist Church in the City Centre
IX., Kálvin tér, everyday. Neo-Gothic building from the 19th century. The atrium of the main entrance, with its four columns, was designed by József Hild.
St. Anne’s Church
I., Batthyány tér 7., can be visited every day during masses (6 a.m. – 6 p.m.) St. Anne’s Church is one of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in Budapest. The construction work on the church began in 1740 based on the plans of Kristóf Hámon, and it was finished in 1761 by Mátyás Nepauer. During the following 200 years the church was afflicted by wars, floods and earthquakes, and finally it was restored in 1970-84.
The Hungarian Orthodox Church of Our Lady Wicha
V., Petőfi tér 2., can be visited every day. Masses every day in Hungarian and Old Russian, frequent choir concerts and cultural events.
III., Szentendrei út 139., www.aquincum.hu, closed on Monday. There used to be a significant Roman city on the site of today’s Óbuda with two open-air theatres, so it is possible to see Roman ruins in Óbuda even in an ordinary underpass.