Christian Museum

Top choice in Esztergom

The former Bishop’s Palace in the picturesque riverbank Watertown (Víziváros) district houses the Christian Museum, home to the largest and finest collection of medieval religious art in Hungary. It contains Hungarian Gothic triptychs and altarpieces as well as later works by German, Dutch and Italian masters. The most prized piece is the sublime Holy Sepulchre of Garamszentbenedek (1480), a wheeled cart in the shape of a cathedral, with richly carved figures of the 12 Apostles and Roman soldiers guarding Christ’s tomb.

Be sure to see Tamás Kolozsvári’s Calvary altar triptych (1427), which was influenced by Italian art; the four-panelled late-Gothic Christ’s Passion (1506) by ‘Master MS’; the gruesome Martyrdom of the Three Apostles (1490) by an Austrian painter; and the Temptation of St Anthony (1530) by Jan Wellens de Cock, with its drug-like visions of devils and temptresses. Some of the works have QR barcodes, allowing smartphone users to enjoy more in-depth descriptions.

The fastest way to reach the museum from Castle Hill is to walk down steep Macska-lépcső (Cat Steps), which can be accessed just north of the basilica.

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