The birth of the Hungarian state is traditionally associated with the coronation of King Szent István (St Stephen I). From this event onward, which took place in the year 1000, until the Tartar invasion of 1241 Esztergom functioned as Hungary’s capital, the royal seat of the country.
On their way to and from the Holy Land, the crusading rulers regularly had a rest with their armies by the banks of the Danube, in the castle built on the hill towering above the settlement, including Emperor Conrad III of Germany, King Louis VII of France (in 1147), and the German Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) (in 1189).
Most of the relics found in the mediaeval buildings are now displayed in the Esztergomi Vármúzeum (Esztergom Castle Museum) of the Hungarian National Museum.
Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, also paid a visit to the town when on 31 August 1856 the cathedral was consecrated.
A not-to-be-missed sight for visitors to Esztergom is the exhibition of outstanding liturgical objects in the Főszékesegyházi Kincstár (Cathedral Treasury) and the Keresztény Múzeum (Christian Museum), one of Hungary’s most important picture galleries.