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Esztergom

ESZTERGOM (Ger. Gran; Lat. Strigonium), a town of Hungary, capital of the county of the same name, 36 m. N.W. of Budapest by rail. Pop. (1900) 16,948, mostly Magyars and Roman Catholics. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, nearly opposite the confluence of the Gran, and is divided into the town proper and three suburbs. The town is the residence of the primate of Hungary, and its cathedral, built in 1821-1870, after the model of St Peter's at Rome, is one of the finest and largest in the country. It is picturesquely built on an elevated and commanding position, 215 ft. above the Danube, and its dome, visible from a long distance, is 260 ft. high, and has a diameter of 52 ft. The interior is very richly decorated, notably with fine frescoes, and its treasury and fine library of over 60,000 volumes are famous. Besides several other churches and two monastic houses, the principal buildings include the handsome palace of the primate, erected in 1883; the archiepiscopal library, with valuable incunabula and old MSS.; the seminary for the education of Roman Catholic priests; the residences of the chapter; and the town-hall. The population is chiefly employed in cloth-weaving, wine-making and agricultural pursuits. An iron bridge, 1664 ft. long, connects Esztergom with the market town of Párkány (pop. 2836) on the opposite bank of the Danube.

Esztergom is one of the oldest towns of Hungary, and is famous as the birthplace of St Stephen, the first prince crowned "apostolic king" of Hungary. During the early times of the Hungarian monarchy it was the most important mercantile centre in the country, and it was the meeting-place of the diets of 1016, 1111, 1114 and 1256. It was almost completely destroyed by Tatar hordes in 1241, but was rebuilt and fortified by King Béla IV. In 1543 it fell into the hands of the Turks, from whom it was recovered, in 1595, by Carl von Mansfeld. In 1604 it reverted to the Turks, who held it till 1683, when it was regained by the united forces of John Sobieski, king of Poland, and Prince Charles of Lorraine. It was created an archbishopric in 1001. During the Turkish occupation of the town the archbishopric was removed to Tyrnau, while the archbishop himself had his residence in Pressburg. Both returned to Esztergom in 1820. In 1708 it was declared a free city by Joseph I. On the 13th of April 1818 it was partly destroyed by fire.

For numerous authorities on the see and cathedral of Esztergom see V. Chevalier, Répertoire des sources. Topo-bibliogr. s.v. "Gran." Of these may be mentioned especially F. Knauz, Monumenta Ecclesiae Strigoniensis (3 vols., Eszterg, 1874); Joseph Dankó, Geschichtliches ... aus dem Graner Domschatz (Gran, 1880).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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