Esztergom Basilica (Basilica Esztergom)

Esztergom Basilica is the tallest construction in Hungary and one of the tallest in the world for that matter. In fact, the edifice positions itself on the 18th place among the tallest constructions in the world. The actual name of the basilica is the Primatial Basilica of the Blassed Virgin Mary Assumed into Heaven and St. Adalbert. With such a lengthy name it is really no surprise that the building is known as the Esztergom Basilica, after the city in which it is found.

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The dimensions of the basilica are definitely impressive: it expands over a surface of 5.600 square meters, with a length of 118 m and a width of 49 m. The dome dominates the central part of the edifice. It comprises 12 windows in its structure and measures 33.5 m in diameter.

One of the main attractions of the basilica is the altarpiece which represents the largest painting in the entire world to have been painted on a single piece of canvas. The master behind this specific work of art was Michelangelo Grigoletti.

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But the entire basilica can be regarded as a work of art due to the beautiful paintings that adorn it. The edifice had been constructed out of red marble by Italian craftsmen and has been decorated by means of canvases which depict Tuscan Renaissance motifs. The value of these representations is enhanced by the fact that so few other examples of Renaissance art of equal importance can be found on Hungarian soil.

Tourists who visit the basilica might be drawn aback by the crypt located within the edifice. This is a colossal tomb built in the 1831 in the Old Egyptian style. The crypt holds the earthly remains of the late archbishops of the basilica.

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The location where the basilica was erected was previously chosen for the construction of several other houses of worship. The initial church was erected in 2nd century by the order of king Stephan I of Hungary and it was actually the first cathedral to have been constructed in Hungary. However, the fate of this edifice was troublesome in the sense that it was prone to several damaging effects in a tumultuous historical timeframe. Initially, the cathedral was burnt down at the turn of the 12th century, only to be rebuilt in the years to come. But the following historical events that occur, such as the Mongol invasion or the bombing of the church due to political reasons, had further devastating impacts on the construction. These “attacks” led to a new series of repairs. With the refurbishing of the edifice came a more elaborated decorative work. But the cathedral was left in ruin once more when the Turks came to power in mid-16th century.

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Only in the 19th century, was the cathedral brought back to life. The chapel which existed previously was disassembled in more than a thousand pieces which were carefully relocated a couple of meters away were they were incorporated into the new basilica that was slowly beginning to take form as the architect Pál Kühnel intended it (the architect hired to design the basilica).

One of the focal points in the basilica is the largest organ which can be found in Hungary. It is true that the organ is not completed, mainly because the administration of the basilica lacks the funds to carry on the work. Within the structure of the organ, one will discover the largest organ pipe in the entire country – it measures 10 meters. The project is quite the undertaking but the results are bound to leave everyone overwhelmed by its grandeur. It is said that when finished, the musical instrument will be the third largest organ to be found on the European continent.