Monday, August 18, 2014

Hungary: Esztergom Basilica

Although we were very much enjoying Budapest, we decided on a day trip to see some of the countryside and the Danube Bend. Our first stop was the town of Esztergom to visit the biggest building in Hungary and 18th biggest church in the world, the Esztergom Basilica.
Another gorgeous day to visit the countryside.
There was a piper dressed in costume serenading the visitors. He was playing "Oh When the Saints"
There was some kind of rehearsal going on in the church - confirmation maybe?
The altarpiece (13.5 × 6.6 metres, depicting the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Girolamo Michelangelo Grigoletti) is the largest painting in the world painted on a single piece of canvas. It's hard to get a sense of the size from the photo - trust me, it's huge!
This view of the altar may give you a bit more perspective.
 This is the organ. We didn't get to hear it, but I'm sure it would be beautiful.

A little history thank to Wikipedia:
The building of the present church took place on the foundation of several earlier churches. The first was built by Stephen I of Hungary between 1001–1010 (as the original Saint Adalbert church), the first cathedral in Hungary, which was burned down at the end of the 12th century. It was rebuilt, and even survived the Mongol invasion of Hungary. However, in 1304, Wenceslaus III, a probable candidate for the Hungarian throne, sacked the castle and the church. It was repaired in the following years. The archbishops of the 14th and 15th century made the church more ornate and added a huge library, the second most significant one in the country. It was ruined again under Turkish rule, in 1543. In 1820, the Archdiocese was restored and archbishop S├índor Rudnay decided to restore Esztergom's status as mother church of the country. The church maintains the relics of Catholic martyr and saint Marko Krizin.

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