National and historical symbols of Hungary

In this section you can find the crests of almost 2400 settlements of Hungary with notes. Find the starting letter of the settlement in the list and click if you want to see it.

The Coat-of-Arms of the Town of Esztergom [¤]
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Esztergom

(The County of Komárom-Esztergom)

The historical antecedents and authenticity of the coat-of-arms

All the formal and structural features as well as the tinctures of the coat-of-arms described in Paragraphs 2 and 3 are historically authentic and heraldically verifiable. The same applies to its symbolic elements.

The coat-of-arms took shape no later than at the beginning of the 14th century from the charges of the oldest Hungarian urban signet, Esztergom's double (latinus) seal dating back to the age of the Árpád dynasty, by the combination of the charges on the obverse and those on the reverse of the 13th century seal; that is, by placing the Árpáds' coat-of-arms (barry of nine gules and argent) under the stylised townscape. (The original signet is owned by the local Bálint Balassa Museum, whereas the original forms of the double seal have been preserved in the National Museum since 1814.)

The most characteristic features of the coat-of-arms are identical with those of the marble arms adorning the street front of the Town Hall in the tympanum above the balcony since 1773.

The structure, form and tinctures of the coat-of-arms

As regards form, the coat-of-arms bears a charge drawn in a circular shape and emblazoned in a kite shield erect with a pointed base. This chief shield is divided per fess in two fields. On the two sides of the imaginary vertical axis the same motifs are borne in a symmetry reflecting their mirror images. According to the definition of the charter dated 1725, the tinctures of the blazon are azure-white (argent)-red (gules)-or.

The description of the charges of the coat-of-arms

Shield parti per fess. In base, surmounting a castle wall masoned with cubic stones argent, a surtout bearing the coat-of-arms of the Árpáds (barry of nine gules and argent or on a field gules four bars argent). On both sides of the surtout the wall is trellissed with an arched loophole. Across the top of the wall a row of bricks gules. The chief shield and the surtout surmounting the castle wall are both enhanced by a thin bordure or.

In chief and partly in fess on a field azure a stylised early Gothic townscape argent. In the front a town wall fortified with four mace towers roofed gules. Across the top of the lower sections of the wall connecting the outer and the inner towers a parapet crenellated with merlons. The two inner towers are connected by the wall of the fortified gate, also roofed gules, borne at the height of the towers themselves. The two outer towers are surmounted by a cross or each, the two inner ones by a round-shaped roof ornament each. In the middle of all the four towers an elongated loophole each, below their roofing two small window apertures respectively. The wall of the fortified gate is trellissed with two arched window apertures above, while each side of the arched main gate bears a circular aperture (for the chains of the drawbridge). On both sides a smaller arched gate opening from the parapeted town wall sections. Between the two inner towers is borne the main gate with an ornamented round arch and with a portcullis half-hoisted.

Beyond the wall, issuing from behind the fortified gate a palace, the higher central part flanked by two lateral wings, all roofed gules. The central roof is surmounted by three round-shaped ornaments or, the pointed roofs of the two lateral wings by one round-shaped ornament each.

On the projecting central frontispiece a large ornamented window aperture; next to its pointed arch on both sides a smaller round-shaped aperture each. The facades of the wings are trellissed with further five apertures respectively: on the edges above a round-shaped roof window each, below them an elongated narrow double opening respectively, each surmounting a large oblong aperture. In the palace walls on both sides of the central part a trefoil window each.

The symbolism of the coat-of-arms

The townscape protected by the towered walls is a contemporary (13th-century) representation of the royal borough of Esztergom, seat of the kings of the House of Árpád, and Hungary's most important settlement during the Árpád dynasty. The townscape also includes the most significant building, the Szennye Palace, which can be identified as the house of the first Hungarian mint, the chamber of minting during the age of the Árpáds. The coat-of-arms with the Árpád motifs (barry of nine gules and argent) in the base of the chief shield symbolises the town's affiliation to the Crown, and the protection and security expected to be provided by the monarch. This is the reason why, almost without exception, it was only the royal boroughs founded by the Árpád kings that used it as one of their symbols.

The main gate with the portcullis half-hoisted, as a central motif in the structure of the charge, also offers an up-to-date interpretation within traditional heraldic symbolism that focusses on the historical role of a settlement. According to this, the charge suggests that the keeping of traditions can only result in an enrichment of values or, in other words, a dynamic continuity, if it is coupled with the intention of adopting new impacts and new ideas. This has been the principal thought of any program aimed at adjusting to European norms since St Stephen's admonitions. The motif signals the eternal validity of this concept for the self-government of a town developing continuously. The idea itself bears a special significance in the case of Esztergom, which used to be the seat of Hungary's country-founding king.

E-mail: varshaza@holop.hu