The oldest building in Kapisztran square is the Mary Magdalene Tower built in late Gothic style, also the only medieval monument maintained in its original form.

After the foundation of the Buda Castle in 1244, Hungarian civilians, still a minority among Germans at the time, built their own chapel on this site.

At the end of the 15th century, the sanctuary was expanded into a three-aisle church, while a tower still standing today was also constructed.

During the Ottoman occupation, this was the site of the only Christian church in operation, shared for use by both Catholics and Protestants. Later it was taken away from Catholics and was converted into a Muslim place of worship.

It was used as the church of the Franciscans, but it was again closed after the order of Franciscans was dissolved. In 1792, the building, unused at the time, also served as the coronation site of Francis I as Hungarian king.

In 1817, it was given to the Garrison of Buda and served as their place of worship.

The building was severely damaged again during the 1945 siege of Budapest. The restoration of the Tower as a monument began in 1950, but at the same time, the leaders of the anti-church regime decided to demolish the church.

After being closed to the public for decades, Mary Magdalene Tower opened its doors to visitors again in the summer of 2017.

The Lookout tower on the higher level offers an extraordinary panorama with views to the most important buildings of Budapest and the nearby Buda hilltops. The 15th century building will soon be home to a cultural and tourism centre providing insight into both the Buda Castle and the church, as well as the Midday bell chimes and how it is connected to Hungarian history.

(We regret to inform you that the charillon is out of order due to a thunderstroke in 2020. The most sensitive parts got seriously damaged. Collecting funds for the million-Forint reparation is in progress.)

The side chapel awaits visitors with temporary art exhibitions every month.


On the first floor of Marie Magdalene Tower can be seen the 24-piece chime structure, which smallest peace weighing 8 kg, the largest-one almost 35 kg. The computer-controlled, unique electronic system makes the bronze-made bells ring, which can be viewed by visitors.
The chime system – made by Szabados és Társai Ltd. signals every quarter hour, and every hour we can hear a longer tune.

We regret to inform you that the charillon is out of order due to a thunderstroke in 2020. The most sensitive parts got seriously damaged. Collecting funds for the million-Forint reparation is in progress.


One matchless treasure held by the Hungarian National Museum is the mantle that used to be worn by Hungarian monarchs at their coronation; it is a garment that King Stephen I (St. Stephen of Hungary) and his wife Gisela of Bavaria had made in 1031.

The mantle was originally a bell-shaped, one-piece chasuble; it was altered to make a mantle later on. According to the inscription embroidered on it, the chasuble was made on the instructions of King Stephen I (r. 997–1038) and his consort Gisela and was presented by them to the Church of the Virgin Mary in Székesfehérvár in 1031: ANNo INcARNACIONIS XPI : MXXXI : INDICCIONE : XIIII A STEPHANO REGE ET GISLA REGINA CASULA HEC OPERATA ET DATA ECCLESIAE SANCTA MARIAE SITAE IN CIVITATE ALBA.

The ground fabric is rosette-patterned Byzantine silk which is covered almost entirely with ornament embroidered using gold thread. On the back of the mantle is a Y-shaped cross. The raised arms of this cross feature half-length depictions of angels, while the vertical element shows two depictions of Christ, one underneath the other. In the upper one, Christ is shown as the conqueror of death with His feet on two dragons; in the lower one, He sits on His throne as judge of the world. The rest of decoration is organised into bands: above are Old Testament prophets while below them – separated by the presentation inscription – sit the Apostles in richly worked tower-shaped niches. Below them, in circular medallions separated from one another by a pair of birds, Christianity’s first martyrs are depicted. Between them, at the foot of the cross, there is a depiction of the royal couple who made the presentation, accompanied by an inscription.

King Stephen is shown wearing a circlet crown featuring gemstones; he has a winged lance in his right hand and an orb in his left. Gisela’s crown is similar to the king’s; in her hands is a reliquary in the shape of a tower. Between them, in a circular frame on the upright of the cross, can be seen a half-length portrait of a young man: he is probably Prince Emerich, their son.

When the alteration was made, a broad strip was cut from the chest part of the chasuble, and of the square-framed and mandorla-framed scenes only small parts remain. (A mandorla is an oval-shaped halo: in the depictions, the figures of Jesus, Mary, and the saints all have one.)

The ample inscriptions on the mantle contain on the one hand the names of the figures and on the other hand explanatory Latin texts in hexameters embroidered onto the frames. Also, the mantle depicts figures from the Te Deum, one of the best-known hymns of the medieval period: the angelic host, prophets, Apostles, and saints named in the hymn are depicted in rows.

The chasuble may have been altered around the turn of the 13th century, when long, sleeveless, mantles became fashionable. It was then that the garment was given its collar, which likewise consists of a Byzantine silk ground embroidered with gold thread; it is ornamented with animal figures in arcading and has real pearls sewn onto it. Similarly to the mantle, the collar, too, was originally a part of ecclesiastical attire; it was embroidered in the second half of the 12th century. The first datum in which the mantle features is a record relating to the coronation of King Andrew III of Hungary (r. 1290–1301). According to this, ‘the king was in attire such as St. Stephen wore earlier on.’


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