Esztergomi Bazilika, located in Esztergom, Hungary, is a historic and beautiful church located in the heart of the city. Visit during the holidays for special religious services and guided tours of the grounds. The Roman Catholic “mother church” was the largest and tallest church building in Hungary.
The building itself was created by Italian architects in the early 1500s and was made out of red marble. The additional crypt section was built using Old Egyptian style architecture in 1831 and officially consecrated for religious use in 1856. The Bazilika is also home to the single biggest painting that has been created on a single canvas in the world.
Many famous people are buried in the crypt, including Alexander Rudnay (a Roman Catholic priest), Tamas Bakocz (an archbishop, who is buried with his family), and Denes Szensci (a cardinal of the church). Religious rites are all performed in Latin, in following with the tradition of the church.
The Bazilika is home to a variety of beautiful sights. The best way to see them all is to tour the grounds, whether solo or by taking a group tour (information below).
? Winter Chapel - The winter chapel is appropriately named, as it is the chapel that the Bazilika uses during colder weather due to the fact that it holds warmth better than many of the other parts of the grounds. Daily worship services are held here during the winter. Make sure to view the Great Cross, located on the main wooden church altar. Also make sure to see the beautiful, antique bronze and copper crucifixes, the statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Apostle. Next to the altar are two glass coffins, which feature relief carvings of Saint Boniface and Saint Clement.
? Crypt - The crypt was built to honor the General and Commander of the Castle, Gyorgy. The tombstone, made out of red marble, features a skeleton wearing a feathered helmet and holding a handwheel. The coat of arms also features prominently. There are other artifacts located in the crypt as well, so make sure to spend plenty of time looking around. Many of the artifacts are priceless in nature. The stone carvings on the walls are of particular historical importance.
? Bell Tower - The Bell Tower is probably the most “must see” exhibit at the Bazilika. The original bell tower had over a hundred staircases leading to this specific tower, and the bell is meant to speak to everyone, no matter their religious affiliation. The largest bell in the tower was casted in the 1930s and weighs nearly 6000 kilograms. There is also a slightly smaller middle bell and what is called the “soul” bell (the oldest of the bells, carved with the year 1751).
Guided tours of the Bazilika are offered in four different categories - a general tour of the liturgical room and treasury, a more thorough tour included the Panorama Room, tours meant for children, and foreign language tours offered in English and German (the majority of the tours will be presented in Hungarian). Contact the museum for specific prices.
The website has the opening hours and prices for a trip to the Bazilika. The hours vary depending on the season, so make sure to confirm prior to visiting.
The Bazilika is home to some interesting and unique special event opportunities hosted on the grounds. Occasionally the staff will offer free guided tours (these are updated with dates and times on the website). There are also fairly frequent concerts held there - from university choirs, organ concerts, children’s concerts, and fundraising concerts. The Bazilika also offers what they call “festival” masses, or public religious services for the holidays.
These masses encompass Maundy Tuesday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter services, Saint Adalbert’s Feast, and National Wheat Seed mass. Check the website for the dates and times. There is a full calendar that is updated frequently with all the additional information that guests will need to plan their visits around any special events that may be offered. They are searchable by month and day. Events are added frequently as well, so make sure to stay on top of the website for the most up to date and accurate information.
The Bazilika offers a small gift shop for visitors, which is located in the south tower just off the main cathedral. The main souvenirs for purchase at the gift shop are books, especially related to the history of the area and other books based on religious perspective. Many of the books are available in multiple languages, like English, Slovak, German, and Russian as well as native Hungarian.
Esztergomi Bazilika, 2500 Esztergom Szent Istvan ter 1, Phone: +36-33-40-23-54