Esztergom - the cradle of Hungarian statehood
The small town of Esztergom sitting on the Danube bank in Hungary played an important role in the establishment of the Hungarian state. Esztergom is one of the oldest towns in Hungary. As a royal seat for two centuries and as a centre for the Roman Catholic religion for 1000 years it abounds Esztergom historic and cultural sights. The symbol of Esztergom is the impressive basilica. Primatial Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed Into Heaven and St Adalbert is the largest church in Hungary. The building has imposing sizes: height of 100 m, and the inner diameter of the cupola - 33,5 m.
The building of the present church took place on the foundation of several earlier churches which were built in this place from 10th to 19th centuries. The Basilica was built according to the plans of Pál Kühnel, János Páckh and József Hild. The foundation stone was laid in 1822 and the building of the Basilica took 47 years. During the construction of the Basilica, builders dug down as far as the bedrock in the hill to ensure the stability of the building. The walls in the crypt supporting the dome are 17 metres thick!
The 1856 consecration ceremonies featured the premiere of the Missa solennis zur Einweihung der Basilika in Gran (Gran Mass), composed and conducted by Franz Liszt, and featuring the organist Alexander Winterberger. The final completion of the cathedral took place twelve years later. The keystone was laid in 1869.
The interior of the Basilica contains the Chapel, built in the 16th century. Italian masters built the chapel from red marble for archbishop Tamás Bakócz in 1506-07. The chapel was placed to its present location in a brilliantly executed operation: it was sawn to 1600 pieces, then reassembled in its new location like a huge jigsaw puzzle and it became the left-hand side chapel of the Basilica.
Inside basilica is the world's largest altarpiece (size: 13 X 6,5 m) made by Grigoletto. The artist painted on a single canvas the vision of the ascension of Madonna.
The organ in Esztergom Basilica was constructed in 1856 and is the largest in Hungary and third largest organ in Europe. Organ concerts attract many visitors.
The crypt built in ancient Egyptian style is the burial place of archbishops of Esztergom. The stairs to the right of the main altar lead you to the Treasury displaying some extraordinary pieces of goldsmith's art. Several artworks of the Treasury used to be the property of the Royal Treasury and they were probably handed over to the Archbishop of Esztergom by donation. That is how, among other things, the Matthias Calvary, the larger and the smaller drinking horns of King Sigismund, the drinking horn Corvinus, the Chasuble of Fojnica, the small rock crystal salt cellar, later converted into a relic holder, came into the possession of the Treasury.
|Model of the Basilica Hill|
You can visit the Panorama Hall on the second floor of the Basilica, to see the large model based on the plans of the whole building complex there. According to the original plans, the Basilica and the adjoining buildings were to have taken up the whole Castle Hill.
|Panorama Hall. View of the Danube and the Maria Valeria Bridge connecting Esztergom with Sturovo (Slovakia)|
You can also climb the large dome of the basilica. From the top of the dome, visitors can see a breath-taking view of neighbourhood of Esztergom
|Primates' Palace and St. Ignatius Parish Church|
Stepping out the interior of the basilica admire the view of the Danube and the Maria Valeria Bridge connecting Esztergom with Sturovo (Párkány) in Slovakia. Between the Danube and the basilica hill stretches the cityscape of Watertown (Víziváros) with its two-towered Baroque church dominates the vista. There is the Keresztény Museum (Christian Museum) in the neo-Renaissance Primates' Palace (Prímási Palota) on Mindszenty Square. The museum's rich collection includes paintings by Renaissance Italian masters.
|Esztergom Basilica and the Royal Palace|
|Esztergom Basilica and the Royal Palace, a view from the Víziváros (Watertown)|
The main square of the town is the Széchényi square. Of the several buildings of Baroque, Rococo and Classicism style, there is one that catches everyone’s eyes: the Town Hall.
|Baroque church of Sorrowful Virgin|
Another important monument in the city is the former synagogue and the Baroque church of Sorrowful Virgin on the top of the hill.
The former Synagogue of Esztergom was built in 1888 in a Moorish-Romantic style. The building now houses the Technical House. In the neighbourhood of the Basilica are the reconstructed remains of the former royal palace founded by Prince Géza, father of King St. Stephen. Today, the building is home to a museum.
|Primate Cellar - Tourism and Wine-cultural Centre under the Basilica Hill|
|St. Stephen's Coronation Statue|
You can also read other articles about Hungary (click)
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This post is linked at:
Through My Lens, Our Word Tuesday, Other Wordless Wednesday, Wednesday Around The Word, Outdoor Wednesday, Photo Friday, Skywatch Friday, Weekend Travel Inspiration, The Weekly Postcard and Seasons