Church of St. Mary the Virgin or University Church

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1053 Budapest, Papnövelde utca 5-7.

Nestling in the hustle and bustle of downtown Pest, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, better known as the University Church, is one of the most valuable and beautiful Baroque church buildings in Hungary, preserved in its original state. It is an interesting historical fact, that during the 1848-49 War of Independence, the Parliament met in this church on one occasion.

The church was built by the Pauline monks after expelling the Turks, but was only used for a short time. The signs of the Pauline roots are to be found especially on the high altar, where a copy of the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, one of the holiest icons of the Pauline Order, is also located. In a block of buildings adjacent to the church, there is the Central Theological Seminary, which has a Baroque library with frescoes and carved furniture on the second floor. The ceiling frescoes in the Palatine Library and the University Church are by the same artist, Johann Bergl, who also created some masterpieces in the Schönbrunn Palace and in the library of the Abbey of Melk.

Many distinguished, high-ranking guests have visited the church, even Maria Theresa was there in 1751. Later it became a favourite wedding venue among the aristocracy, where the most distinguished noble families, including Nádasdy, Zichy, Esterházy, Festetics, Károlyi and the Andrássy family, took their vows of eternal fidelity.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the church and the monastery, step inside and be amazed by the harmony of Baroque splendour, rich in sculptures, frescoes, gilded and carved inlays. The church can also be visited on a guided tour, during which you can also enter the monastery garden, where you are surrounded by relaxing silence that excludes the noise of the city centre.

Did you know?

For many decades, between April 1, 1928 and June 10, 2000, the bell chime at noon of the Hungarian Radio was broadcast from this church.

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