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Fő Square - Tapolca, Hungary
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Esztergom Basilica - Esztergom, Hungary

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GPS coordinates: Latitude 47°47'56", Longitude 18°44'11" (N47 47.93 - E18 44.18) Map

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The statue called „Crowning Saint Stephen I” (king of Hungary) by Miklós Melocco and the dome of the cathedral in the sunset - Esztergom, Hungary The statue called „Crowning Saint Stephen I” (king of Hungary) by Miklós Melocco and the dome of the cathedral in the sunset

The statue on the roundel bastion of the Esztergom Castle captures the moment when King St. Stephen (Stephen I of Hungary) was crowned. The piece of art is 12 meters tall and made of snow-white Süttő limestone (Süttő is a nearby settlement), it was inaugurated on the anniversary of the death of the king in 2001.

The Bakócz Chapel (or Annuntiatio Chapel) in the Esztergom Basilica - Esztergom, Hungary The Bakócz Chapel (or Annuntiatio Chapel) in the Esztergom Basilica

The St. Adalbert's Church stood on the site of the current Esztergom Basilica, it was built in the age of St. Stephen (in the first third of the 11th century). That cathedral was destroyed first by conflagration then later by the Ottoman Turks, who also used it as a mosque for a while. In 1594 during the recapturing of the castle the here stored gunpowder was exploded, and only the renaissance style red marble chapel of archbishop Tamás Bakócz (1506-1511) remained intact. This was disassembled into 1600 pieces in the mid-18th century, then it was built into the walls of the Basilica.

The church organ and below the main entrance of the Basilica - Esztergom, Hungary The church organ and below the main entrance of the Basilica

The original 49-stop and 3530-pipe church organ of the Esztergom Basilica was constructed by the Austrian Ludwig Mooser, it was inaugurated in 1856 and at that time it was the largest in Hungary. The sound of the instrument was influenced by the experiences of the master, that he gained in the vicinity of Salzburg (his native land) in the mid-1800s. The original Mooser-organ was highly damaged in the World War II, so a new instrument was built into the church. After all, from the mid-1970s a new church organ was started to be constructed, which also includes the survived pipes from the old organ. The 146-stop organ was designed and the works were led by the organist and choirmaster of the basilica István Baróti (1940-2014). The longest pipe is almost 11 meters in length, as well as the shortest is just 7 mm long. By the way, this 49-stop organ is planned to be the third largest church organ in Europe and the largest in Hungary again.

Cathedral of Esztergom (Primatial Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed Into Heaven and St Adalbert) viewed from the calvary on Szent Tamás Hill - Esztergom, Hungary Cathedral of Esztergom (Primatial Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed Into Heaven and St Adalbert) viewed from the calvary on Szent Tamás Hill

The neoclassical style Basilica of Esztergom was designed firstly by Pál Kühnel and János Packh, but the final design was created by József Hild Hungarian architect. The basilica was consecrated in 1856, in yet unfinished state. The ceremony was also attended by Emperor Franz Joseph, as well as Ferenc Liszt or Franz Liszt Hungarian composer wrote a musical composition (the "Gran Mass") especially for this occasion, that was conducted by him on the spot.

Main entrance of Esztergom Basilica - Esztergom, Hungary Main entrance of Esztergom Basilica

The thickness of the walls of the Esztergom Basilica is 17 meters, so this is the thickest wall system in Central Europe. The lower church (crypt) of the cathedral is also the final resting place of the high priests of Hungary, for example cardinal József Mindszenty, who is known about his speech in 1956.

Pulpit and main altar in Esztergom Basilica - Esztergom, Hungary Pulpit and main altar in Esztergom Basilica

The main altarpiece was created by Michelangelo Grigoletti and it represents the Assumption of Mary. The picture is the largest such altarpiece in the world that was painted on a single canvas, it is 13.5 meters in height and 6.6 meters in width.

The dome of Esztergom Basilica viewed from the inside - Esztergom, Hungary The dome of Esztergom Basilica viewed from the inside

During the Second World War the Basilica was severely damaged, especially a part of the colonnade and the shell of the dome. Today of course it can be seen in the restored form. The inner height of the dome is 71.5 meters, it has 12 windows around and it is held by 24 columns.

Bell-tower - Esztergom, Hungary Bell-tower

The three bells of the basilica is situated in the left side (southern) belltower, the largest among them is the almost 6-ton Assumption Bell (in Hungarian "Nagyboldogasszony-harang", more precisely it is 5827 kilograms in weight and 218 centimeters in diameter). This bell was created by László Szlezák in 1938, after the previous and slightly smaller bell was cracked in 1930.

Basilica of Esztergom (Cathedral and Primatial Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed Into Heaven and St Adalbert) - Esztergom, Hungary Basilica of Esztergom (Cathedral and Primatial Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed Into Heaven and St Adalbert)

The Basilica of Esztergom (St. Adalbert Cathedral) is the center of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary, and also the tallest building of the country assuming that other structures, transmission towers and chimneys are not counted. The height of the church from the crypt to the top is exactly 100 meters, as well as it is 118 meters in length and 49 meters in width. Not surprisingly this is also the largest church building in Hungary, in Europe its size is exceeded for example by the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy or more precisely in the Vatican City (136 m), the St. Paul's Cathedral in London, UK (111 m) or the Cologne Cathedral in Germany (157 m). The internal floor area of the basilica is 5660 square meters. The 57-meter-tall bell-towers are connected to the main building with arches or arcades on both sides.

Portrait of György Szelepcsényi archbishop of Esztergom on the door of the Bakócz Chapel - Esztergom, Hungary Portrait of György Szelepcsényi archbishop of Esztergom on the door of the Bakócz Chapel

Created by Hungarian painter Endre Szász in 1983

Endre Szász (1926-2003) Hungarian graphic artist was born in Transylvania. There is a lesser-known artwork of him in the Esztergom Basilica, on the wooden door of the Bakócz Chapel. The graphics was made by silkscreen technics and representing György Szelepcsényi György (1595-1685) archbishop of Esztergom. This work of art wa created by the artist in 1983, in his very characteristic style.

Nevertheless, there are two other pictures related to this graphic. These were created when Endre Szász worked also for the Hollóháza Porcelain Manufactory. Although these pictures were made by completely different techniques, the same portrait of the archbishop with the big mustache in profile is clearly recognizable on these porcelain paintings, too. The painter sent one of these paintings to Pope John Paul II, and the other one has appeared on an auction in 2003, it was sold then for HUF 1,000,000.

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