According to common urban legend, the church was moved from its original place in order to accommodate the construction of the Elisabeth bridge.
Next to the church you can find an organized but natural-looking garden which recreate the courtyard of medieval churches.
- Oldest building of Pest. The construction was ordered by St. Stephen and most probably the stones of Contraaquincum were used as construction material.
In 1046 St Gerardus was buried here after he was captured and killed by pagan rebels.
According to legend, pagan insurrectionist threw stones at him, then he blessed these people, but it didn’t proove to be the best strategy, it just made them angrier. Then he was put into a carriage and thrown from the top of the Gellért Hill.
He was buried in the church, but later his body was taken to Italy (he originated from there). In 2002, his relic (bones of his heel and vertebra) was brought back to Hungary and it’s still the holiest relic of the church which can be seen in the main altar.
The church, by its Methuselah’s age, bears several different characteristics. During the Turkish occupation – like many other churches in the country – it was transformed into a mosque.
The remains still can be seen: in the southern wall a niche, a so-called mihrab indicates the direction of Mekka, the direction that muslims should face when praying.
Today the church consists of two different parts: a barroque and a gothic part. It’s worth to mention the cross vaults with the beautifully painted groins and the rose windows as well, though the building didn’t become famous among the Hungarians due to its beauty, but because of a popular urban legend.
According to common misbelief, the church was moved in order to accomodate the construction of the Elisabeth bridge. Some people are convinced that this is true, some say it’s a humbug…
Actually, there were several plans to really move the churh, but in the end the government denied all of them because they said they wanted to demolish the church anyway because it was worthless (!).
They kept to their opinion until excavations prooved otherwise.
The church stands only 40 cm from the bridge which fact caused several damages in the building.
After its 2011 restoration, it can be seen in all its glory again.
- The church’s garden was recreated as well. It’s a nice example of urban landscape planning and one of the best places in the city to read a book or relax: it’s organized but natural-looking with the main goal to reacreate the courtyard of medieval churches.
According to this idea, mainly herbs were planted here (rosemary, basil, lavender), but there are several ornamental plants as well such as rose.
The two statues of St. Jadwiga and St. Kinga welcome the people at the entrance of the garden. St. Kinga was the daughter of the second state founder Adalbert, the fourth.
Legend has it, when she tried to escape from the mongolians, she threw her comb on the ground and a forest appeared on its place which stopped the horde. Despite of the legend, she has a lily in her hands.
On the Eastern side of the church a statue for St. Florian was ereccted in 1723 to prevent fires.
St. Florian is patron saint of firefighters (he organized a group of soldiers to fight fires). This statue shows him extinguishing the fire of a church, but the details can’t be seen because after the restoration works, the Eastern side of the church was closed with a wrought iron gate.
Once it was a popular place for „questionable business transactions”, simply because the security cameras couldn’t cover the site.
The site in front of the church is memorable as well: Franz Joseph, emperor of the AHM swore an oath here in 1867, after the compromise.
Back then, before the coronation the monarchs had to swear that they would protect the country against enemies of all kinds. For this event, earth was brought from all the regions of the Kingdom of Hungary and a hill was created of it.
The emperor rode to the top of the hill and pointed north, south, east and west with his sword. Today’s 15 of March square was named Vow square in memory of this event.
In front of the church the statue shows a fight between the Romans and the barbarians. (Tar István, 1970) Once it was a fountain.