Discover the Rich History and Magnificent Beauty of St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the most iconic landmarks of Budapest, Hungary. This beautiful neoclassical church is named in honor of the country’s first king, St. Stephen, who founded the Hungarian state and brought Christianity to the region. Here, visitors can explore the rich history and fascinating architecture of this magnificent building, as well as enjoy stunning views of the city from its dome.
History of St. Stephen’s Basilica
The construction of St. Stephen’s Basilica began in 1851 and took over 50 years to complete. The original architect was Jozsef Hild, but after his death, Miklos Ybl took over the project and added the beautiful dome that is now the symbol of the basilica. The church was named after St. Stephen, who was canonized in 1083 and is revered as a national hero in Hungary.
St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest, with a seating capacity of over 8,000 people. It was also the tallest building in Hungary until the completion of the Hungarian Parliament in 1902. The basilica was damaged during World War II, but it was rebuilt in the postwar period and has since become a major tourist attraction in Budapest.
Architecture of St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture, with a stunning domed ceiling and ornate details throughout the building. The façade of the church is decorated with sculptures and reliefs depicting scenes from the life of St. Stephen and other important figures from Hungarian history.
The interior of the basilica is equally impressive, with a high altar made of black marble and beautifully painted ceilings. The church also houses many valuable artworks, including the miraculous painting of the Madonna, which was brought to Budapest from Italy in the 18th century.
Visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is open to visitors every day, and admission is free. Visitors can take an elevator or climb the stairs to the top of the dome, where they can enjoy panoramic views of Budapest. If the weather is clear, visitors can see as far as the Danube River and the Buda Castle.
Tourists are advised to dress modestly when visiting the basilica, as it is a place of worship. Shorts, sleeveless shirts, and revealing clothing are not allowed inside the church. Visitors should also be aware that there may be long lines to enter the church during peak tourist season, so it is best to arrive early to avoid the crowds.
FAQs about St. Stephen’s Basilica
Q: Is there an entrance fee for St. Stephen’s Basilica?
A: No, admission to the church is free.
Q: Are there any dress requirements for visiting the basilica?
A: Visitors are advised to dress modestly, with shoulders and knees covered.
Q: Can visitors climb to the top of the dome?
A: Yes, there is an elevator and a staircase that lead to the top of the dome, where visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Budapest.
Q: Are there any guided tours of St. Stephen’s Basilica?
A: Yes, there are guided tours available that provide visitors with more information about the history and architecture of the church.
Q: What is the best time to visit St. Stephen’s Basilica?
A: The basilica is open year-round, but it can get crowded during peak tourist season (June to August). It is best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
Top 5 Tourist Attractions near St. Stephen’s Basilica
1. Hungarian Parliament Building – Located on the opposite side of the Danube River, the Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most iconic landmarks of Budapest. Visitors can take guided tours of the building and admire its stunning Gothic Revival architecture.
2. Fisherman’s Bastion – This castle-like structure is located on the Buda side of the Danube River and offers panoramic views of Budapest. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for even better views of the city.
3. Chain Bridge – This historic suspension bridge spans the Danube River and connects Buda and Pest. Visitors can walk across the bridge and enjoy stunning views of Budapest.
4. Vaci Street – This pedestrian street is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a popular spot for tourists. Visitors can stroll along the street and soak up the lively atmosphere of Budapest.
5. Szechenyi Thermal Bath – One of the largest thermal baths in Europe, the Szechenyi Thermal Bath is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can relax in the warm, healing waters of the baths and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the building.