May 24, 2013

0657 HUNGARY (Komárom-Esztergom) - The Basilica of Esztergom

Esztergom, one of the oldest towns in Hungary, was a long time a frontier town, as also its name say it (the Old Slavonic name, Strěgom, means guard post). Erected by Celts, then conquered by Romans, who turned it into an important frontier point on the boundary of the province of Pannonia, the town was mastered successively by Germans and Avars. At about 500 AD, Slavic peoples settled there, in the 9th century, the region being part of Great Moravia. After the arrival of the Magyars, Géza chose Esztergom as his residence in 960, and his son, future Stephen I, was born in his palace built on the Roman castrum on the Várhegy (Castle Hill). Here, in Esztergom, he was baptised and later crowned. For almost 300 years it was the center of the country's political and economic life, and it has retained its importance even after moving the capital to Buda. Only the Ottoman conquest in 1526 brought a decline of the city.

Basilica from the postcard might be considered the symbol of the town and is the largest church in Hungary. Built between 1822 and 1869, it contains the Bakócz Chapel, the only one that survived the Middle Ages, disassembled and incorporated into the new church. In the Saint Stephen chapel, the glittering relics of Hungarian and other nations’ saints and valuable jewellery can be seen. The treasury houses many masterpieces of medieval goldsmith's works, and a vast collection of traditional Hungarian and European textiles. A wonderful panorama of the Highlands and of the Pilis Mountains can be enjoyed from the cupola. 

About the stamp, part of the second series Health Tourism - Spas,I wrote here.

Esztergom - Wikipedia
Basilica of Esztergom - Official website

sender: Mircea Ostoia
sent from Esztergom (Komárom-Esztergom / Hungary), on 09.10.2012
photo: Mudrak Attila

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