St Stephen’s Basilica

Another stop on the Budapest whirl wind tour is St Stephen’s Basilica.

One of the top ten most photographed buildings in the world it’s named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary.

Apparently his mummified right hand is rather gruesomely still housed in the Basilica’s relic shrine.

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Today, it is the third largest church building in Hungary and is host to one of the most spectacular ceilings I have ever seen! (Brace yourself – it’s going to get fact and photo heavy!!)

Built in a Neo-Classical style the exterior is dominated by two large bell towers. In the southern tower is Hungary’s biggest bell, weighing over nine tonnes.

The north tower houses five bells (presumably to try and compensate for the single, epic bell in the other tower!)

Here’s the ornately carved door to the Basilica and some of the spectacular features inside the cavernous building.

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Here’s looking up into the ornate Cupola in the centre of the Basilica. Resplendent with Biblical imagery, culminating with a fresco of God the Father.

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It took more than five decades and  three architects to build the impressive Basilica. Several unfortunate events delayed the works.

József Hild made the designs in 1845 but construction was delayed due to the 1848/49 Revolution and War of Independence, works finally started in 1851.

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After the death of Hild, Miklós Ybl, took over overseeing the construction.

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In 1868 the dome collapsed, (luckily nobody died). Ybl drew up new plans and building started again almost from scratch. He couldn’t see his work completed, as he died in 1891.

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József Krauser finished St Stephen’s Basilica in 1906.

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Apparently, at the consecration mass Emperor Francis Joseph kept sneaking a peek upwards afraid of another collapse of the dome.

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I am sure you’ll agree that it was worth all the effort though!

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