One of the highlights of my trip to Budapest was visiting the Basilica. It was named after King Stephen I, the first King of Hungary who brought Christianity to his country who was canonised after his death.
A slightly bizarre feature (to someone from non-Catholic country like myself) of the Basilica is the saint’s mummified hand on display in one of the chapels, which is paraded every year on the national holiday of St Stephen’s Day The inside of the Basilica is stunning with a magnificent gilded dome which you can climb top get a panoramic view of the city.During the early 1900s the relic was taken to the Sigismund chapel in the Buda castle and remained there until 1944. During World War II, the Holy Right and the coronation jewels were taken and hidden in a cave in Salzburg. Later they were found by the US army, which delivered the Right Hand to the archbishop of Salzburg for safekeeping. It was returned to Hungary, right on time for the procession of August 20, 1945 by three members of the American Military Mission. It remained in the safe of the Basilica until August 20, 1987, when the Holy Right chapel was dedicated. I think the coronation jewels were only returned to Hungary after the end of the Cold War, they were safely stored in Fort Knox.
It really was breathtaking. I'm not a religious person at all but the scale and beauty of this building really took my breath away. I was definitely deeply moved by my surroundings. There is a small fee, 200 HUF to enter the church (less that £1) and if you want to climb the dome like we did then there is a 1000 HUF fee which is around £3 but well worth it. After climbing lots of winding stairs to the top of the dome we were rewarded but amazing panoramic views of the city. It was very grey and cold for most of our stay but the views were still spectacular. You can see as few at the Buda hills and make out all the major landmarks.
Our apartment was only a two minute walk away from the gem that is the basilica. We booked it through airbnb and really enjoyed our stay there. It was a very good price, the perfect size for a couple and had everything we needed. I would highly recommend a stay if you're considering going to Budapest. The host was from the UK and moved to Budapest with his Hungarian wife, he kindly picked us up from the airport and gave us a quick tour of the area.
There was plenty of space for four people/a family too as the one bedroom apartment also had a sofa bed.
If you want to read more about my trip to Budapest make sure you keep an eye on the Budapest tag. Have you been anywhere exciting recently? Please leave links below so I can get some travel inspiration.