Esztergom, Hungary

By | November 25, 2022

The city of Esztergom can rightly be considered the cradle of Hungarian statehood, it is difficult to overestimate the importance that this beautiful ancient city played in the history of the country. Today, Esztergom has carefully preserved for us visual pictures of its difficult, but long and glorious history.

How to get there

Esztergom is a city located in the north of Hungary, just 38 kilometers from Budapest, on the south bank of the Danube, near the Slovak border. The borders of the states lie so close here (along the bend of the river) that Esztergom is connected by a bridge across the Danube with the neighboring Slovak city – the sister city of Šturovo.

Getting to Esztergom is quite easy from Budapest. Between the cities there is a regular bus and rail service, travel time is about one and a half hours. It is easily accessible by car, following road number 10.

  • Cachedhealth: Information about shopping and eating in Hungary.

History paragraph

Like many other areas of Central Europe, these places were inhabited by Celtic tribes. After the arrival of the Romans, a fortified camp was erected here, which was called Salvio Mancio. There are versions that the monumental work of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius “Reflections” was written here. Later, the Germanic and Avar tribes came to the banks of the great Danube, who were replaced by the Slavs over time. The Slavs gave this settlement the name Stregom, traces of which can be traced in the modern name of the city.

During the time of the powerful Slavic powers of Great Moravia and the Principality of Nitra, Stregom was one of the main and impregnable fortresses. Here was a strategically important crossing over the Danube.

Great Moravia fell under the blows of the Magyars, who came to these parts in the 10th century. Grand Duke Géza settled in Esztergom, making the city his residence. In 976, his son, the future king of Hungary, Istvan the Holy, was born in the residence of the prince. In 1001 St. Stephen was crowned in Esztergom, and later created the bishopric of Esztergom here, which became the religious center of the country.

Esztergom was one of the residences of the Hungarian kings for a long period of time – about 200 years, until the 12th century.

There are versions that the monumental work of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius “Reflections” was written in Esztergom.

For a long time the city retained an important place in the economy, politics, religious and spiritual life of the country. Esztergom experienced a turbulent time in the 13th and 14th centuries, during the invasion of the Mongols into Central Europe, and the numerous wars that were constantly waged in this region during those troubled times. Despite all the misfortunes, Esztergom quickly developed and grew, without losing its former significance. St. Adalbert’s Cathedral and the royal palace were built here. In the 16th and 17th centuries, hard times again came for the city, this time associated with the Turkish invasion. The Turks destroyed St. Adalbert’s Cathedral and the palace, as well as almost the entire city. Esztergom was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for almost 150 years – from 1543 to 1683.

After the expulsion of the Turks, the city had to be populated and rebuilt, because it suffered a lot during this time. In 1708, once again rising from oblivion, Esztergom became a royal free city, and in 1869 the majestic Basilica of St. Adalbert was erected here. In the difficult and restless 20th century, the city again suffered from two world wars, but the city, as in all times, rose from the ashes. Today we see modern Esztergom – a beautiful ancient city with a rich history, prosperous and attracting travelers.

Entertainment and attractions in Esztergom

Esztergom – one of the most ancient cities in Hungary, has long been one of the political, economic and cultural centers of the country. But the city does not lose its significance even today, today Esztergom is the residence of the archbishop, who bears the title of primate of Hungary. The old town and other historical and architectural sights are perfectly preserved here.

For example, the Royal Palace of the Arpad dynasty, built in the 10th century in the Romanesque style. Time and wars did not spare the ancient residence of the Hungarian kings. The Turks almost completely destroyed the castle, and it was restored only in the 30s of the last century. Today, the building houses a museum.

The Basilica of St. Adalbert is the largest Catholic church in the country. The height of the dome of the basilica is 71.5 meters. The temple was built on the very spot where in the 11th century the glorious King Stephen the Holy erected the first Christian church in all of Hungary. The church was burned several times, destroyed by the conquerors. The new church was built in the 14th century but was destroyed during the Turkish occupation. The current building was built in 1869. The basilica is located on the high bank of the Danube and from its observation deck offers a breathtaking view of the city, the valley and the river.

Prominent religious figures of Hungary are buried in the cathedral.

The Maria Valeria Bridge connects two countries – Hungary and Slovakia, through two sister cities Esztergom and Sturovo. The bridge is half a kilometer long, and it was opened at the end of the nineteenth century, but was destroyed in 1920 and 1940. The bridge was restored in 2001, and before that there was only a ferry service between neighboring cities.

Szechenyi Square is also noteworthy – the central square of the city, surrounded by old houses of the 18-19th century. Also of interest are the Vizivaros Church, built in 1738, and the Archbishop’s Palace (1882), where today the Museum of Christianity is located, the exposition of which includes works by medieval masters.

Esztergom, Hungary