Photographer's Note

Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary taken into heaven and St Adalbert

Hungary's largest church and the seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary. The Classicist basilica houses a Renaissance masterpiece, the Bakócz Chapel. The Treasury's collection is extremely rich. The basilica is 118 metres long, 49 meteres wide, and 100 metres in height. Arches connect the two 57-metre towers on the left and right of the tympanum at the main entrance.
The visitor is welcomed in its immense interior laid in a Greek cross plan, with a single barrel-vaulted nave divided only by the transepts, and dominated by the huge crossing dome. Grey marble dominates the colours of the interior, lightened by white and gold decoration and red marble ornamentation. The high altarpiece is the world's largest oil painting on a single sheet of canvas.
The grounds of a medieval church were chosen for the site of the basilica. Built between 1822 and 1869 under four archbishops, it was designed by architects Pál Kühnel, János Packh, and finally József Hild. The basilica was inaugurated in 1856. Ferenc Liszt composed his Esztergom Mass for this occasion, and he personally conducted the orchestra at the celebration.
The cupola is open for to the public and offers a spectacular panorama. The church crypt is the final resting place for the dignitaries of the church in Hungary, including Cardinal József Mindszenty.


Esztergom is the birth and coronation place of the first Hungarian king, St Stephen; the city celebrated the 1000th year of its establishment in 1973. Its famous churches, its monuments and the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside make it an extremely popular tourist destination.
The favourable geographic location played a significant role in the development of the settlement. It stands at the meeting place of the mountains and the flatlands, at a crossing point of the Danube, and also at a crossroads of military and trade routes.

By the beginning of the 20th century Esztergom had grown into a significant cultural, intellectual and religious centre. It lost its status as the county seat in 1951, but has retained its role as religious centre to this day. The largest church in Hungary stands here, the basilica, which is linked to various ecclesiastical heritage. Some of these are preserved in the Cathedral Treasury (Főszékesegyházi Kincstár) and Museum of Christianity (Keresztény Múzeum).

The cultural and tourist programmes held here draw many visitors. Today Esztergom is one of Hungary's most significant tourist centres.

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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