Eastern Europe has a weird fascination with mummified hands, I’m not going to lie. I first became aware of this when one of my travel companions from the Budapest trip, who I got to know when we lived in Prague, went to visit a mutual friend in Krakow last May and went into a church to discover a mummified hand.* There is also a mummified hand in a church in Prague.**
I don’t know what it is about the Eastern Europeans and mummified hands as religious relics, but there you have it. I had no intention of going looking for Hungary’s mummified hand, but found it anyway when we decided to go check out St. Stephen’s Basilica. Unlike the hand in Prague, which purportedly belonged to a thief, the hand in Budapest belonged to St. Stephen, who was the first Christian King of Hungary (1001-1038). His right hand sits in the reliquary of the church.***
*I’ll have to ask Becky where it was because I can’t find the reference anywhere, but there was definitely a conversation with our Czech landlady (who is our age) about the Eastern Europeans and their love of mummified hands.
**The Church of St. James behind the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn off Old Town Square.
***All this information can be found on pages 22-23, 116-117 of the Eyewitness Travel, Budapest book.