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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest

St Stephen's Basilica - An architectural jewel in the heart of Budapest

The capital of Hungary, Budapest has a wealth of grand architecture, with one of the most prominent buildings being St Stephen's Basilica. This Roman Catholic Basilica is one of the most significant tourist attractions in Budapest and during my stay in 2014 our hotel was literally a 10 second walk from the square so we visited it several times.

Front doorway of St Stephen's Basilica

The Basilica is named after Saint Stephen I of Hungary and is considered the most important church building in Hungary - No other building can be constructed taller than it or the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest as a sign of respect and reverence.

The Basilica stands 96m high to the top of it's dome

I found the Basilica to be extremely beautiful; from the striking bell towers and dome of the exterior, to the lavishly decorated interior and columns. I do not think it is as impressive as St Paul's Cathedral in London, or St Peter's Basilica in Rome, but it does carry an air of importance, grandeur and significance which make it stand out in it's own right.

St Stephen's Basilica in all its glory
Doorway Arch Decoration The Beautiful interior and dome Stain Glass Window in one of the Aisles Statue of Ladislavs


St Stephens Basilica is centrally located on the Pest side of the river Danube practically parallel to the Szechenyi Chain Bridge. There are several metro stops around the Basilica, mainly Bajczy Zsilinszky and Deak Ferenc ter - We used the metro system to get to Heroes square and found it fairly inexpensive and prompt. Our hotel was just down the street from the square and the Basilica so we walked both times to see it - It is a major tourist attraction in Budapest so getting there shouldn't be a problem.

Map showing location of St Stephen's Basilica
Beautiful artwork of the dome interior Ornate spiral staircase leading up to the dome One of the towers of the front facade One of the towers of the front facade

The interior

I love cathedrals that have lavishly decorated interiors - The overwhelming style really speaks volumes about how important religion was in years past, and how powerful the church and religious establishments were. St Stephen's Basilica has all the usual trappings - Plenty of gold, elaborate artwork and just a finish that looks beautiful. The columns are made from what looks like a beautiful shade of red marble and the arches are decorated with gold and glint when the sun catches them. The whole interior is very brightly coloured and a real feast for the eyes, this s pronounced even more when sunlight shines through and falls through the arch ways.

The front facade of the Basilica

The Dome

The Dome of St Stephen's is spectacular and you can see both the interior and also walk around the outside on the Basilica roof. The interior of the dome has some beautiful artwork on, with several windows that let sunlight pour through. I really enjoyed photographing the interior of the dome and trying to capture it in good light. The central image on the pinnacle of the dome has a striking relief of God, circled by many angels and finished with plenty of gold trim – It looks extremely well to do.

The dome is often the central point of a cathedral, with windows opening up to the heavens

To get to the outside of the dome and the rooftop you must climb several winding staircases and a small lift – Before the lift entrance you can see the supports and dusty frame of the dome – I thought it looked quite spooky. Once outside you can walk around the whole circumference of the dome and have panoramic views of the city of Budapest beneath you. It's a must do but just be patient as the walkway is not overly wide so you might need to wait for people to pass.

View from the top of the Basilica nex to the Dome
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