Visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest
When I (David) was in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad for a month during each of the four years of my undergraduate education. Growing up in a small town in the Midwest, the local architecture wasn’t much to capture one’s attention. However, after my first trip to Europe, that all changed. I was forever hooked and captivated by the artistry of the architects who created the beautiful cathedrals that dot Europe’s landscape.
I captured the above photograph on December 7th, 2014 as we strolled along a beautiful pedestrian boulevard. The temperatures were in the mid-40s, and as you might gather from the photograph, there was a slight winter drizzle.
We were visiting Budapest as our start point for a beautiful Christmas Markets cruise with Viking River Cruises.
From the vantage point of this photograph, our Viking River Cruises Longship was parked within earshot behind us underneath the famous Budapest Chain Bridge, the stunningly beautiful Four Seasons Budapest is immediately to our right, and the Budapest Christmas Market is a mere three blocks away.
As we neared St. Stephen’s Basilica, we found a small Christmas Market set up in front of the church.
St. Stephen’s Basilica was built in the Neo-Classical architectural style, and was named after St. Stephen I of Hungary, the first king of Hungary (c.975-1038). And, if you’re into church relics, you can find the king’s “incorruptible” right hand housed in the reliquary.
Standing at 96 meters (315 ft), the basilica is equal in height to the Hungarian Parliament Building to symbolize that worldly and spiritual thinking have the same importance. Further, local regulations stipulate that no building is allowed to surpass the height of these two structures.
As we were visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica on a Sunday, we found red velvet ropes just inside the door asking us to remain silent, and to keep from disturbing the church service that was currently underway.
If you click on the photo above, you’ll notice the astonishing details we found inside the basilica. Adding to the visual feast, our ears enjoyed the reverberating songs of the choir, as well as a slight aroma from the priest’s incense-filled lanterns.
While we didn’t take the time, when you visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, you should consider riding the elevator to access the dome for a 360º view of Budapest. And, if you’re feeling really spunky, climb the 364 stairs for a little exercise as well. 😀
I was talking with one of our clients recently who lamented that she simply didn’t want to see another European cathedral. While I must confess that cathedrals are a staple in European tours, the photographer in me will never tire of the eye candy, and the remarkable skill of the artisans who built these remarkable structures.
When you visit Budapest, we highly recommend that you reserve some time to enjoy St. Stephen’s Basilica. It’s a short walk from the Chain Bridge, and perhaps you can stop in the Four Seasons for lunch or afternoon tea.
If you’d like some help planning a trip to Budapest, or perhaps a cruise on the river Danube, call our travel agency at (480) 550-1235, or use our convenient online information request by clicking here.
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