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.
The view from here is superb, encompassing the incomparable Danube Bend. Not far away is the imposing citadel and the huge keep which takes its name, Solomon’s Tower. It is a fact however that during the Middle Ages the royal crown was kept under lock and key here. Today the tower is a museum with a display of archaeological treasures.
The towering Royal Palace originally raised in Gothic style and later, during the reign of King Matthias, rebuilt in Renaissance style has a fountain.
This too is a museum, one of the main features of which is a reconstruction of the masterpiece red marble Hercules fountain. Exhibitions have been set up in some of the halls of the restored palace, period replica furniture can be seen in the one-time prince’s suite.
The palace gardens have been replanted with flora identified from excavated fountains. Each summer a knight’s tournament, strong man competition and medieval crafts fair are organized in Visegrád.