On Szentháromság tér, the busy square at the heart of Buda, stands the bright-roofed Mátyás Church (Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sun 1–5pm; 1500Ft). Inside, the church is fabulously exuberant, with the original thirteenth-century structure used as the base for a late nineteenth-century redesign in a Romantic Nationalist style. The splendid gold leaf and nationalist motifs clearly reclaimed the church as Hungarian – it had been a mosque for a time under Ottoman rule. A statue of King Stephen (Szent Istvan) on horseback stands outside - he is revered as the founder of the Hungarian state and the one responsible for converting Hungarians to Christianity.
Behind the church is the neo-Romanesque Fishermen’s Bastion or Halászbástya, constructed in 1902 on the spot supposedly defended in the past by the guild of fishermen against would-be invaders. Today it’s an excellent place for looking out across the river to the splendid Parliament building rising up on the east bank.