For starters, I didn't know that the Basilica is the third largest in the world, after St Peter's in Rome and London's St Paul's. Secondly, despite its immense size, it has an intimate feel with so many beautiful side chapels, conveying both serenity and deep spirituality. It is also, in many respects, a museum of Hungary's rich and vibrant faith, with the Treasury and also the Crypt not to be missed. The former is reached by arduous climbing of many narrow internal stairs, an exercise not for the faint of heart. But, once there, you'll be dazzled by the richness of the archiepiscopal croziers, chasubles, pectoral crosses, chalices and other indices of the exalted status of the Primate of All Hungary, whose Basilica Esztergom is. As to the latter, don't miss it! It costs separately, but for 1700 Hungarian Florints (adult price) you can see the works: the crypt, the treasury, the cupola (450 narrow steps, but what a view from the top!), and the cathedral (although the cathedral, of course, is free on its own). The crypt is where the Cardinal-Primates are entombed in Cathedral-like spaces, with a simple avenue of Doric columns reminiscent of an Egyptian temple (except the temperature on a hot summer's day was noticeably cooler in the crypt than outside) leading to a simple altar immediately behind which, festooned with the Hungarian-coloured ribbons and wreaths, is the memorial to the tragic and inspirational, indeed revered, Cardinal Mindzenty. One of the Basilica's other treasures is the organ on which Franz Liszt ("Ferenc" is Hungarian for "Franz/Francis") played his own composition at the dedication of this immense edifice in the mid-19th. Century, when it replaced the original which theconquering Ottoman Turks despoiled centuries before.
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