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Frontpage News 2011 New bells for the Matthias Church in Budapest

HU0054j photo by László Bókay.jpg

New bells for the Matthias Church in Budapest

The destroyed historic bells of the Matthias Church in Budapest have been replaced with Norwegian financial support and were installed in Buda Castle this month.

Three new bells and one repaired historic bell were hoisted into the belfry of the 700 year old Church of Our Lady - also known as the Matthias Church - on 2 February. Thanks to €318,000 in financial support from the Norway Grants, the bells have finally been completely restored after the bell tower and the bells were partly destroyed during World War 2.

Symbolic value
The historic bells are of significant symbolic value to the Hungarians as they toll every day at noon to commemorate the victory of Christian Hungarian troops against the Ottoman Turks in Belgrade in 1456. The tolling of the bells is broadcasted daily by Hungarian television.

The Norway Grants project has since 2008 contributed to restoring the bells by installing  and assembling three newly moulded and cast bells, one repaired bell, and the bell stands, as well as counterbalances that act as shock absorbers. State- of- the- art bell technology has been used to guarantee a long lasting quality of sound as well as minimal future maintenance costs.

The Church
Officially named the Church of Our Lady, this famous landmark in Budapest's Castle District is better known as the Matthias Church after the much-loved 15th-century Renaissance king who ordered the transformation of the Church’s original southern tower, and was married here twice. The Church dates back to the 14th century and has frequently been restored, repaired, and remodelled in whatever architectural style was in fashion at the time.  It is part of the UNESCO world heritage, and is considered one of the most important shrines for Catholic Hungarians.

Photo: Cardinal Péter Erdõin blessing the new bells at a Mass at the end of January 2011. The picture is taken by László Bókay.