Visegrad Citadel - Visegrad Palace - Esztergom

Price: 62.00 EUR
Countries: Hungary
Route: Budapest - Visegrad Citadel - Visegrad Palace - Esztergom - Budapest
Duration: 7 h
Our first stop will be at the Citadel (Fellegvár) and the Lower Castle The Visegrád double castle system is one of the castles built by Béla IV recognizing the consequences of the Mongol invasion. The fortress preserved its significance until the Turkish invasions. The Citadel had a multifunctional role: it was protecting the valley of the Danube, it was controlling the main commerical route between Buda and Esztergom, and also served as a custom’s house. The fortress consisted of two parts. The construction of the Lower Castle started under the reign of Béla IV around 1247. It was unique, as the fortress was not located next to the road differing from the common traditions, but the road was crossing the territory of the castle. The most interesting part of the Lower Castle is the so called Solomon Tower. The Tower was named after a false story, stating that Solomon was guarded in this Tower after loosing in the battle for the throne against King Saint Laszlo and Geza.The Visegrád Citadel hosted the famous Royal Summit of Kings, and the first Anjou King died in the castle in 1370. The Saint Crown of Hungary was guarded here. When Louis the Great became the King of Poland in 1370, the Polish crown was also stored in the castle. The palace wings and a new external wall was erected during the Anjou reign. Sigismund of Luxemburg extended the fortification with a third set of walls and carried out several lavish constructions. Our next stop we will make at the gothic cloister, where walking on the typically renaissance loggia, you can easily have the feeling that behind you are walking Beatrice of Aragon and King Matthias hand in hand.  The history of the Visegrad Palace stretches back to the times when Charles Robert moved the royal court to Visegrád in 1323, and started constructions in town.  During the reign of Charles Robert only a few  residential biuldings were built, and an area was constructed to host knight tournaments, which was  occasionally used by the King as well. During the Anjou era this area was a part of town with several buildings, which was transformed into a palace during the reign of Sigismund. The plan of the Palace’s was square-shaped and it was surrounded by walls. The old chapel was left outside the walls, so the King donated it, completed with cloister buildings to the  Observant Order. The centre of the Palace was located in the  north-eastern part of the complex. The royal aparments were located in a three-storey square-shaped building. The staff  lived on the ground floor, and the upper two floors served as the King and Queen’s summer and winter  residence. The traces of modifications and ornamental changes of Sigismund can also be seen in the halls of the Palace. In the Palace reconstructed in late Gothic style the Renessaince building and decorative elements appeared for the first time after Italy. The  statues and fountains were made in the workshop of the sculptor Giovanni Dalmata.The Hercules  Fountain, which is the most famous ornament of the Palace, was also made by Dalmata. The Well are decorated with the coats of arms of Matthias, and the young Hercules may be a reference to the King’s illegitimate son, John of Corvin. The Palace matched up with the contemporary Italian  Renaissance courtyards, that is why Bartolomeo  de Maraschi Papal Legate described it as a Paradise on Earth in his letters. Our next stop will be in the Esztergom which is one of the oldest towns in Hungary and it is also one of the best places in Hungary. It was the former capital city, nowadays is the seat of the Hungarian Catholic Church. Esztergom was the coronation place of first Hungarian King St. Stephen, who was born here around 975. The Basilica of Esztergom, a masterpiece of Classicism, is the third largest church in Europe. The history is present in almost every corner of the city.  Esztergom was a royal seat from the late 10th to the mid-13th centuries and has been the seat of Roman Catholicism in Hungary for more than a thousand years. The Basilica is built next to the castle on the hill. Part of the castle still stands, here you can find a museum for Christan art, and admire several rooms. Another part of the castle is mostly ruins. From here, you have a great view over Esztergom’s surroundings: nature, the Danube, and Slovakia. Esztergom castle is a thrilling melange of architecture Medieval and Renaissance architecture. After free time we return to Budapest.
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Countries: Hungary

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