Anchoring the northern point of the triangle that makes up the beautiful Danube
Bend, Esztergom Hungary is a small, but charming town with a great deal of historical
importance. Along with Szentendre and
Budapest further south on the Danube, Esztergom
Hungary played a prominent role in the founding of the country and the preservation
of its culture. It is Hungary’s oldest town, site of a Roman settlement from the
time when the Roman Empire used rivers to facilitate their northward wars of conquest.
Throughout its history and through the present
time, Esztergom has been an important and strategic river port, and as such the
city spent 300 years as the country’s capital. If you travel to Esztergom from
any direction, the green dome of the town’s enormous Renaissance Basilica can
be seen from some distance away. It is Hungary’s largest church and boasts one
of the world’s largest altars – an indication of the town’s historical importance.
Another of the historic Esztergom attractions is its castle that was the seat of government and the residence of the royal family during the time the city was the capital of Hungary. In 1526, the Turks took the imposing castle for the Ottoman Empire after the deciding Battle of Mohács in 1526. They used it as a fortress until it was nearly destroyed in the siege of 1683 in which Austrian troops prevailed. Although Esztergom, along with Buda and the rest of Hungary, was liberated. The castle gradually fell into ruin and, although Esztergom remained the seat of the Catholic Church, it became just another quiet town along the river when the capital was moved to Buda.
Esztergom tourism began anew as the artists of twentieth-century Budapest discovered the beauty of the surrounding area and their holidays included this lovely town. Interest in the town increased and there was even more travel to Esztergom with the 1930s excavation and restoration of part of the castle and its walls, visible today at the foot of Basilica Hill. The Basilica is reason enough to travel to Esztergom and its red marble chapel is one of Europe’s finest examples of Renaissance architecture. And, the Basilica Treasury houses a wealth of royal and liturgical gold artifacts.
It is the Hungarian history and grand architecture of a former capital city that draws people to travel to Esztergom Hungary today, and you will find Esztergom is an integral part of vacation packages that often include river cruises on the Danube, day tours from Budapest and from the equally charming town of Szentendre.
There are plenty of other Esztergom attractions including the striking twin-towered church in the The Víziváros (Watertown) section. This and the neighboring Primate’s Palaces are both masterpieces of Baroque architecture. Hungary’s largest ecclesiastical collection of art can be found in the Christian Museum, located in the Primate’s Palace. The Watertown area itself is one of the Esztergom attractions as it is the most picturesque and pedestrian friendly part of town. One of the most rewarding things to do here is simply take a stroll along the charming streets lined with lovely Baroque and classical buildings. Much of Esztergom tourism is centered here in Watertown where you will find some of the town’s best shopping and dining opportunites.
Esztergom Hungary is accessible as a day trip and as a stop for river cruises along the Danube. But do consider the many Esztergom hotels for an overnight. This is how you can enjoy the magnificent sight of the grand Basilica lit up at night and reflecting off the waters of the Danube. Additionally, Esztergom tourism offers hotels for all tastes and budget, and the town is worth more than just a quick stop.