Esztergom lies on the right bank of the Danube, at the gate of the Danube Bend. The former royal and archbishopric town, with a history going back 1000 years, is located in Komárom-Esztergom County and has a population of 31 000. It was the first capital of Hungary, the seat of kings from Géza until the Mongol invasion, and later an archbishopric center. The architectural monuments from this era, the palace and one of the largest churches in Europe, the Basicilca are defining sight of the cityscape.
The Maria Valeria bridge, rebuilt in 2001, signifies a strong connection to Slovakia, which is the reason for Esztergom becoming the center of the 2000 square meters large Ister-Granum Euroregion.
Esztergom is well known for its schools. Besides the many high schools, there are university faculties in the city, including a priests' seminary. The museums, the primate's library and archive hold some rare sights for the curious minded, the basilica, the summer festivals are really popular among tourists.
Esztergom Castle The castle is one of the main sights of Esztergom and a significant location in Hungarian history. Originally, it was built during the reign of St. Stephen, and it was the royal seat until 1198. Later it was used by the archdiocese and it was transformed into a Renaissance archbishopric palace.
Esztergom Basilica A symbol of the city and the third largest church in Europe matched only by St. Peter's Basilica and the St Paul's Cathedral in London. Its construction started in 1822 on the spot of an earlier church built by St. Stephen. Inside, we can see the world's largest single canvas altarpiece.
Primate's Palace Seen on the 10 000 ft, the Neo-Renaissance palace was built as a residence for the archbishops between 1880 and 1882. Besides the residences, the palace houses the Archbishopric Library, the Primate Archives and also the Christian Museum.
Town Hall The Baroque palace was built on the spot of the house of General János "Blind" Bottyán between 1772-1773. It was used as a school until 1908. On the ground floor, there is an arcade composed of 11 arches running along.
Dark Gate The 80 meters long, vaulted tunnel runs under the Castle Hill. It was built by Sándor Rudnay in 1842. Its name is a reference to the tunnel's lack of proper lightning in the past. The tunnel was an important location of the events of the Revolution of 1956 in Esztergom.
Maria Valeria Bridge The bridge connecting Esztergom and Párkány was first constructed in 1895 based on the plans by János Feketeházy. This 500 meters long, 5-holed bridge was blown up by the Germans in 1944. The rebuilding took place much later, and the new bridge was opened in 2001.
Mihály Babits Memorial House The poet Mihály Babits and his wife spent their summer in this house after 1924. Their guests included the famous writers, artists of the period, who left their autograph on the wall of the building. Since 1960, it is a protected building and the memorial house.
Bálint Balassa Museum The museum has an enormous collection of local historic, archaeological and fine art objects. Visitors can see a selection of these in an interactive way in the so called Visible Storage.
Danube Museum The exhibition is about the history of Hungary's water resources and water management. Visitors can try different hydraulic devices, learn about the chemical and physical properties of water, and even sit in a helicopter simulator and fly over the waters of the country.
Christian Museum Located on the second floor of the Primate's Palace, the museum has one of the richest ecclesiastical and fine arts collection. Besides Hungarian masters, paintings by Italian, Dutch, Austrian artists are also exhibited.
Synagogue The two-storey building with corner towers was designed by Lipót Baumhorn and built in 1888. As a result of the local Jewish community being deported in World War II, today it houses a community center.
Saint Anne Church The church with a completely circular plan is a smaller copy of the Esztergom Basilica. After a commission of Archbishop Sándor Rudnay, it was designed by János Packh and built between 1828 and 1837.
Old Seminary The priest's seminary of Esztergom was founded in 1566, and since 1865 it is located in the largest public building of the city. The seminary is 80 meters long, and interestingly its northern facade was built in Classical style while the southern has Romantic elements.
Festivals: Ister-Granum Folk Festival, Water Carnival, Esztergom Festive Games, Jazztergom, Castle Theater, Fesztergom, St. Stephen Days, Bridge Celebration, Bridge Running.
The Castle Hill of Esztergom was always an ideal location for settling down: in 350 BCE, it was the center of a Celtic town. The settlement was flourishing until the Roman conquest when it became a province in Pannonia. Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Hungarians, Huns, Germanic people, Avars and Franks lived in the area.
After the Hungarian conquest, Grand Prince Géza located his quarters and build a church on the Castle Hill, also, his son, the later King Stephen was born here. The construction of the castle was started by Géza and finished under the reign of Stephen - Esztergom became a royal town. For centuries, the only mint in the country operated here.
By the 13th century, Esztergom became the most important political end economical center but the Mongol Invasion almost completely destroyed the settlement. The majority of the population returned later and settlers arrived but it could not regain its leading status. Béla IV relocated the royal seat to Buda, and gave the castle to the Archbishop of Esztergom.
In the 14th-15th centuries, many humanist intellectuals visited the Archbishopric palace, for example King Matthias, Antonio Bonfini, and János Vitéz lived and studies here.
Though the city started flourishing again, the siege of the Ottoman armies destoryed the city which marked the end of medieval Esztergom. The famous Hungarian poet, Bálint Balassi died in one of these battles.
In the 18th century new settlers arrived, changing the composition of the population. The city and society of modern Esztergom started evolving. After the Ottoman times, the archdiocese regained the palace, and the last grandiose construction in Esztergom, the building of the Basilica began.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Esztergom had an important role in administration, education and culture. Its cultural importance is shown by the fact that the poets Mihály Babits and Sophie Török spent their summers here in the interwar period. It started becoming a popular tourist destination with the excavation and renovation of the Árpád era castle in the 1930's.