Esztergom is a small town of 29,000 inhabitants 68km from Budapest via Road 11 which follows the right bank of the Danube. It is, however, the most important ecclesiastical centre of the country, the founder of the state King St. Stephen was born here, and in the 11th century it was the country's first royal seat and ecclesiastical centre; today the Primate of the Hungarian Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Esztergom, has his seat here.
Dominating Castle Hill, the symbol of the city, the Basilica, rebuilt in the 19th century in neo-classical style is the country's biggest church. It has one of the largest canvas- based altar paintings in the world.
The red Carrara marble Bakócz Chapel is a gem of Hungarian Renaissance construction and of unique interest. It is actually 300 years older than the church.
The 400 master-goldsmiths' works and textiles in the Cathedral Treasury (south-west side chapel) include priceless drinking horns, Gothic chasubles, the Suky chalice and Calvary of King Matthias.
Close to the Basilica is the former Royal Palace, and in one of the intact rooms the Castle Museum has been established: the 12th century "St. Stephen's Hall" royal chapel with frescoes and finds from the city's medieval history.
The Christian Museum holds Hungary's most valuable provincial collection. Among the medieval Hungarian art treasures is the 15th century Calvary Altar and the Lord's Coffin of Garamszentbenedek, and in the extraordinarily rich foreign material there are several fine arts masterpieces - from Italian early Renaissance paintings to modem ecclesiastical paintings.
6th century treasures are preserved in the Bálint Balassa Museum, while exhibitions on the history of the Danube region and water management are staged in the Duna Museum.
The 19th century's most important public figures have left their signatures on the "autograph wall" of the Mihály Babits Memorial House.