Palace Chapel (Buda Castle)

Palace Chapel (Buda Castle)

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The medieval Palace Chapel in Buda Castle
Buda Castle
Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, first completed in 1265. In the past, it was also called Royal Palace and Royal Castle ....

 was built in the 15th century by King Sigismund Luxemburg
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund of Luxemburg KG was King of Hungary, of Croatia from 1387 to 1437, of Bohemia from 1419, and Holy Roman Emperor for four years from 1433 until 1437, the last Emperor of the House of Luxemburg. He was also King of Italy from 1431, and of Germany from 1411...

 as the lower chapel of the former Castle Church. The Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 chapel, which survived the destruction of the 1686 siege, was buried under a Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 terrace for centuries. After its reconstruction in 1963 became part of the exhibition of the Budapest History Museum.

History


The first chapel in Buda Castle was probably built in the 14th century during the reign of Louis I of Hungary. The chapel was mentioned in the Chronicle of Eberhard Windecke. Windecke claimed that Charles II of Hungary was attacked by his murderers in 1386 in a room from which the royal chapel could be seen: "konig Karle von Nopols erslagen zü Ofen in der vesten in der stuben, do man sicht in die capell." The chapel was also mentioned in the Chronicle of Lorenzo de Monaci, written around 1390.

King Sigismund Luxemburg
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund of Luxemburg KG was King of Hungary, of Croatia from 1387 to 1437, of Bohemia from 1419, and Holy Roman Emperor for four years from 1433 until 1437, the last Emperor of the House of Luxemburg. He was also King of Italy from 1431, and of Germany from 1411...

 thoroughly rebuilt the old Anjou palace during the first decades of the 15th century. He erected a splendid Gothic church in place of the former chapel. Its façade was facing towards the inner palace courtyard, and the long chancel was projecting from the eastern side of the palace. The chancel was built upon a lower church, a solution which was necessitated by the lack of space on the narrow plateau. It had a 21 m long nave and an 11 m long chancel. Two-storeyed royal chapels were not uncommon in medieval Europe. The flamboyant
Flamboyant
Flamboyant is the name given to a florid style of late Gothic architecture in vogue in France from the 14th to the early 16th century, a version of which spread to Spain and Portugal during the 15th century; the equivalent stylistic period in English architecture is called the Decorated Style, and...

 Royal Church of Buda Castle was similar to the more famous Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle
La Sainte-Chapelle is the only surviving building of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

.

The archeological research proved the dating of the church, because 15th century strata were discovered under the intact brick floor of the lower church.

In November 1489 Sultan Bayezid II
Bayezid II
Bayezid II or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî was the oldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512...

 sent the relics of John the Almoner
John the Merciful
John the Merciful was the Patriarch of Alexandria in the early 7th century and a christian saint.- Early life :He was born at Amathus...

 to King Matthias Corvinus
Matthias Corvinus of Hungary
Matthias Corvinus , also called the Just in folk tales, was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458, at the age of 14 until his death...

. The King placed the relics in the Royal Chapel which was re-dedicated and embellished with Renaissance furniture.

In 1526 Buda was plundered by the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 after the Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács
The Battle of Mohács was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Hungary. In the battle, forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia were defeated by forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent....

. The relics were rescued in time and carried to Pressburg where they are still kept today. A surviving church inventory from 1530 still shows the wealth of furnishings. Later King János Szapolyai converted the lower church into a bastion. The large Gothic windows were walled up, only the new, rectangular loopholes were left open.

In 1541 the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

captured Buda without fight and the Royal Church ceased to be a place of Christian worship. The upper church was destroyed in the 1686 siege of Buda and the ruins were demolished in 1715. The vault of the lower church fell down and the interior was filled with rubbish. The remains were buried under the new Baroque terrace for two centuries.

The ruins of the lower church were discovered by archeologists in 1949-50. The remains were buried in 1953 because of conceptional disputes about the possible reconstruction. The chapel was finally reconstructed by 1963. It was re-consecrated in 1990.