A further 20 km north and the traveler comes to Esztergom, former royal town. Each year this more than 1000-year- old settlement (founded 973) – the first capital of the country, site for the baptism into the Christian Church of Hungarian first king, where the pagan rebel Koppány was cruelly executed and his quartered remains hung on the city walls, seat of kings and archbishops for centuries – attracts around 1 million visitors.
Today the castle is a museum, and its reconstructed grand hall the location for scientific conferences and conventions.
The most decorative part of the castle is the frescoed Royal Chapel. Hungary’s largest church, the Basilica, stands atop Castle Hill. Its red marble chapel, built on the commission of Archbishop of Esztergom Tamás Bakócz, is ranked as one of the finest works of art to have survived in Hungary from the Renaissance.
The Cathedral Treasury with its remarkable collection of ecclesiastical masterworks always attracts crowds. There is a statue of St. Stephen not far away, and the recently rebuilt Mária Valéria Bridge also contributes to the delightful view of the surroundings. The Christian Museum in the Primate’s Palace has a valuable collection of medieval Italian paintings, goblins, faience and porcelains.