GRAN (the ancient istrogranum, whence Hungarian Esztergom, and Latin Strigoniunz), the capital of a county of the same name, seat of the prince primate, and formerly a royal free city, is situated on the right bank of the Danube, nearly opposite the confluence of the Garam (Gran), 25 miles north-west of Buda, 47° 46' N. lat., 18° 44' E. long. It may be generally divided into the town proper, the episcopal quarter, also called Vizivaros (Watertown), and the communes of St Thomas and of St George. The finest terraces and public buildings are to be found in the two first-named portions of the town. On an elevated and commanding position, where once a fortress stood, are the seminary and theological institute for the education of priests, the residences of the chapter, and the basilica. This cathedral, commenced in 1821, consecrated in 1856, and completed in 1870, is built after the model of St Peter's at Rome, and is one of the finest churches in Hungary. Among the other public edifices and educational establishments, besides several churches and two monastic houses, are the archiepiscopal residence, the county and town halls, a training school for teachers, an upper gymnasium, a hospital, a library, a savings-bank, &c. The population in 1870 was 8780, chiefly employed in cloth-weaving, wine-making, and agricultural pursuits. There is connexion with the market-town of Parkany on the left bank of the Danube by means of a bridge of boats.
Gran is one of the oldest towns of Hungary, and is famous as the birthplace of St Stephen, the first prince crowned " apostolic king" of Hungary. During the early times of the Hungarian monarchy it was the most important mercantile centre in the country, and it was the meeting place of the diets of 1016, 1111, 1114, and 1216. It was almost completely destroyed by Tartar hordes in 1241, but was rebuilt and fortified by King Bela I V. In 1543 it fell into the hands of the Turks, from whom it was recovered, in 1595, by Carl von Mansfeld. In 1604 it reverted to the Turks, who held it till 1683, when it was regained by the united forces of John Sobieski, king of Poland, and Prince Charles of Lorraine. In 1708 it was declared a free city by Joseph I. On the 13th April 1818 it was partly destroyed by fire. Gran lay in the direct route of the victorious revolutionary campaign of April 1849. Since 1870 its civil privileges have been of a corporate character.