The official title of this church is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Adalbert but the symbol of the city is simply referred to as the Esztergom Basilica. The enormous building standing on the Castle Hill is the largest church in Hungary and the third largest in Europe - its size is only matched by St. Peter's Basilica and the St Paul's Cathedral in London.
During the centuries of Hungarian history, a church have always been on this spot with the first being built by the first king, St. Stephen. The medieval church was destroyed during the battle with the Ottoman armies, only the 16th century chapel of Cardinal Tamás Bakócz remained intact, though the ruins of the building were visible even in the 18th century.
The building of the Basilica began in 1822 based on the plans of Sándor Rudnay, and it's dedication ceremony took place in 1856 though the construction was not completely finished yet. Franz Liszt wrote the Esztergom Mass specifically for this occasion and conducted it himself at the ceremony where Franz Joseph I was also present.
The Classicist building has monumental dimensions: it is 118 meters high, 49 meters wide, and its dome is 71,5 meters high in the inside. Its tympanum is supported by eight 22 meters tall columns and the gigantic building rests on 17 meters thick walls.
The main altarpiece was painted by Michelangelo Grigoletti after a painting of Tiziano, and it is a worthy of its place: it is the world's largest altarpiece painted on a single canvas. Today, the Renaissance Bakócz Chapel is the left chapel of the basilica. This was achieved during the construction of the Basilica by disassembling the chapel to 1600 pieces, turning its plan and rebuilding it into the new church. Thank to this, today the beautiful monument is the only intact Renaissance building in Hungary.
The Basilica housed the Cathedral Treasury which is the largest ecclesiastical treasury in Hungary. Besides the various treasures, the exhibition includes a collection of metalwork and textiles. Visitors can also see here the giant golden cross called the Calvary of King Matthias and the coronation cross of the kings from the Árpád dynasty.