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Restoring the rank of Esztergom is a long-overdue debt

The Prime Minister described the city as a settlement of national significance, regarding which he said it is home to every Hungarian even if they are not aware of it.

“Today we are settling the long-overdue debt that we owe to ourselves,” he stressed, adding that in recent years the city has proved with deeds that it has been elevated to the rank of one of the most important cities of Hungary not only by history, but equally by the diligence, strength, culture and patriotism of its citizens.

The Prime Minister also recalled that the fate of the city and the history of the Hungarian people had become inseparably intertwined. “Esztergom is our spiritual centre, and at the same time, one of our most important links to the Western Christian civilisation which we became a part of more than a thousand years ago,” he said.

Without Esztergom, Hungarian statehood would be inconceivable, he pointed out. Mr Orbán described the primateship as also Hungary’s “first constitutional court” with reference to the fact that beyond the duty of coronation, it was also the obligation of the Primate of Esztergom to warn the king to observe the constitution.

He further recalled that troubles had not avoided the former capital either: it was ravaged by the Tatars, and was then betrayed by foreign mercenaries to the Turks. Similar to the country as a whole, the past hundred years has also taken its toll on Esztergom as the country lost two thirds of its territory, and “Esztergom, once a jewel of the middle of the country, has become a border city”.

“The last nail was hammered into the coffin” by the communists in 1950 when they eliminated the old system of counties, he said.

We are here today in order to restore this city of national significance to its old rank, Mr Orbán stressed.