A Cold Day in Esztergom (The Danube Bend)

Ice on Danube Duna Esztergom Hungary

Ice on the Danube (Duna) with Sturova, Slovakia in background.

Upriver from Budapest, the Danube (Duna) heads north toward Slovakia, then makes a sharp turn to the west.  At that point, it becomes the national border all the way up to the Bratislava area, where Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria meet.

That area where the river sharply turns is known as the Danube Bend, and there are three prominent Budapest day-trip cities located there: Vac, Visegrad, and Esztergom. On Saturday, we visited Esztergom.

Esztergom Hungary

Esztergom, Hungary.

On a grey, winter day when the temperature didn’t rise above 20 degrees Fahrenheit, we explored the city for 7 hours.  Of course we spent much of that indoors — a restaurant, plus two coffee and cake breaks.  We also enjoyed the Esztergom Basilica, the tallest building in Hungary.

View from the Danube. Esztergom Basilica

View from the Danube. Esztergom Basilica.

The Eztergom Basilica is located on a bluff overlooking the Danube, and is built on the foundation of the first church, built by Stephen I between 1001-1010.  It is known for that fact, as well as a few others: There is a chapel made of red marble, the altarpiece is the largest single-canvas painting in the world, and the structure towers over those who are cruising down the river and about to enter Hungary.

Coronation of King (Saint) Stephen Statue

Coronation of King (Saint) Stephen.

Because of this “deep freeze” in Europe, the Danube is frozen in several locations. In the last couple days, the entire length from Austria to the Black Sea was closed to shipping traffic and Hungary dispatched her largest icebreaker ship to begin clearing it.  The ice you see in the photos was floating with the current…it wasn’t frozen at this point.  Every time a sheet of ice hit one of the bridge pillars, it sounding like the calving of a glacier.  By the way, this bridge was just rebuilt 10 years ago. The original was bombed into the river in 1944.

Enjoy the photos:

Esztergom Basilica

Esztergom Basilica.

Macska ut Esztergom

Esztergom – Macska ut (Cat St.)  … really!

Esztergom - Dog Guiding us down pathway

Esztergom – Kutya ut (Dog St.) …not really

Esztergom frozen river

Frozen river (The ducks prefer where the warmer water pours in).


Facing north.


Facing south.

Inside Esztergom Basilica

Inside Esztergom Basilica.


7 thoughts on “A Cold Day in Esztergom (The Danube Bend)

  1. I liked this piece on Esztergom. We visit there every Summer. One small point: the Danube does not head north from Budapest towards Slovakia. It heads east, then south from Esztergom towards Budpapest, after which it continues due south.

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