The site of today's basilica was a theater in the 18th century. This theater, named Hetz-Theater, was a place where animal fights were hosted. One of the wealthy citizens (Zitterbarth János) of the newly formed district built a temporary church there. In the late 1810s, about a few hundred people formed the Lipótváros Parish. Then they began the fundraising and the believers started to make plans for the future church.
This is the most important church building in Hungary, one of the most significant tourist attractions and the third highest church in Hungary.
Equal with the Hungarian Parliament Building, it is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest at 96 metres (315 ft) - this equation symbolises that worldly and spiritual thinking have the same importance. Current regulations prohibit the construction of any building taller than 96 metres (315 ft) in Budapest. It has a width of 55 metres (180 ft), and length of 87.4 metres (287 ft). It was completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction, according to the plans of Miklós Ybl, and was completed by József Kauser. Much of this delay can be attributed to the collapse of the dome in 1868 which required complete demolition of the completed works and rebuilding from the ground up.
The architectural style is Neo-Classical; it has a Greek cross ground plan. The façade is anchored by two large bell towers. In the southern tower is Hungary's biggest bell, weighing over 9 tonnes (8.9 long tons; 9.9 short tons). Its predecessor had a weight of almost 8 tonnes (7.9 long tons; 8.8 short tons), but it was used for military purposes during World War II. Visitors may access the dome by elevators or by climbing 364 stairs for a 360° view overlooking Budapest.