It is easy to discount this building because it is hemmed in by an elevated roadway, but the Inner City Parish Church, standing flush against the Erzsébet Bridge in Pest, is one of the city's great architectural achievements. It is also the oldest building in Pest. The 12th-century Romanesque church, that was first built on this spot, was constructed inside the remains of the walls of the Roman fortress of Contra-Aquincum. Some ruins of this fortress still survive (see Roman ruins). The church was destroyed by the Mongol invaders.
In the early 14th century, a Gothic church was built where the Romanesque church once stood, and this medieval church, with numerous additions and reconstructions reflecting various architectural trends, still stands today. The Gothic building was partly burnt down in 1723, and the reconstruction was mainly in baroque style. Both Gothic and baroque elements can be observed on the exterior, and the interior niches are built in both styles. The Gothic chancel is considered the most beautiful part of the present building. Inside, you'll also find a prayer niche in the chancel dating from the Turkish occupation, when the church was temporarily converted into a mosque.
The impressive painting on the altar, which dominates this part of the church, is the work of the 20th-century artist Pál Molnár. The church was almost torn down when the Erzsébet Bridge was built in the late 19th century, and again at the end of World War 2. Fortunately, an alternative plan won out, calling for the new bridge and its approaches to wind around the church (this interesting construction is best viewed from Gellért Hill in Buda). Daily mass is held at 6:30am and 6pm; Sunday mass at 9am, 10am, noon, and 6pm.
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October 28, 2008
From journal "Buda"-ful Budapest
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
March 18, 2006
From journal Budapest - The Pest side
East Lansing, Michigan
April 4, 2003
During the Turkish occupation of the 16th century, it was used as a mosque, and the prayer niche (mihrab) facing toward Mecca in the eastern wall is still intact with its Arabic writing.
Admission is free, and we bought pamphlets in English from a man inside for 250 F (US$1). Outside on the church are the remains of the Roman military camp, Contra Aquincum.
From journal Budapest in December