When visiting Budapest there is no excuse for not visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest religious construction in Hungary (it has the capacity for 8,500 people) and with a south tower providing one of the most spectacular views of the city of Budapest.
St. Stephen’s cathedral, located in Pest, is known as a basilica even though strictly according to its architectural layout it is not a basilica, because it has a Greek cross ground plan. It was built in the neoclassical style starting in 1851, having been designed by József Hild, and was finished and consecrated in 1905. Besides being the largest religious building in Hungary, St. Stephen’s also boasts the largest bell in the country.
The basilica is dedicated to St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary, who was crowned by the Pope in the year 1000, after the country had converted to Catholicism. The reliquary contains the mummified hand of St. Stephen. During World War II many important documents and works of art were stored here because of the strong walls.
The basilica at night is highly recommended. The lighting and its solemn appearance make it a worthwhile visit. And if it happens to be in the summer when you visit this wonderful city, take advantage of the organ concerts played there in the summer evenings, where you can enjoy the perfect acoustics.
Monday thru Friday from 9:00 to 16:00 hours.
Saturdays from 9:00 to 13:00 hours.
Sundays from 13:00 to 16:00 hours.
The tower opens every day from 10:00 to 18:00 hours.
Taking a break: Budapest is full of interesting cafés, some of them of historical relevance, but one of particular interest is the Alexandra Book Café, a magnificent book store on Andrassy Avenue—included on the World Heritage List because of its beauty. Up on the higher floor there is a café with plenty of gold colored ornaments, marquetry and restored frescoes, where concerts are sometimes played. This is a perfect place to take a break when walking along this avenue that holds some of the classical buildings in the city.
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