Dark Gate - Dark Portal

Useful Information

The southern entrance from downtown, Dark Gate, Esztergom. Public Domain.
The cathedral and the northern entrance, Dark Gate, Esztergom. Public Domain.
Location: Castle Hill near St. Adalbert's Basilica in Esztergom. (47.799556, 18.737778)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaTunnel
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=90 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1824 construction started by Alexander Rudnay, Archbishop of Esztergom.
26-OCT-1956 14 people die in the Dark Gate when a T-34 tank shoots into a bus during the 1956 revolution.
2006 Dark Gate, seminary, and surroundings completely renovated for the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral.


Commemorative plaque with the names of people who died in 1956 in the tunnel, Dark Gate, Esztergom. Public Domain.
A door to the wine cellar at the end of the tunnel, Dark Gate, Esztergom. Public Domain.
The Dark Gate at night, Dark Gate, Esztergom. Public Domain.

The Sötétkapu (Dark Gate) is a tunnel located under the artificial slopes of Castle Hill. It was built to directly connect the canonic houses with the seminary, but it also connects the Szentgyörgymező neighborhood with downtown Esztergom. So it was financed by the church but was useful for the public. However, due to the lack of lighting it became known as Dark Gate. A problem which was solved with the electric city light.

The tunnel was commission by Alexander Rudnay, Archbishop of Esztergom. Above the southern entrance a red marble sign commemorates him and the year of construction in Latin: PRINCEPS PRIMAS ALEXANDER A RUDNA MDCCCXXIV ("Prince Primate Alexander Rudnay 1824"). But he had another not so social reason for the construction: from both sides of the tunnel the 3700 m² wine cellar of the Archdiocese of Esztergom is accessible. The doors are locked, of course, they contain the wines of the Archdiocese.

The 26-OCT-1956 was a dark day for the Dark Gate because of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The seminary was used as a Russian military facility at the time. When a bus crossed the tunnel heading towards the seminary, a T-34 tank shot into a bus. 14 people died in the tunnel, a stone plaque in the tunnel commemorates the names of people.

The tunnel was not constructed with modern traffic in mind. It has only a single lane and a boardwald for pedestrians. The tunnel is open for cars from the seminary to downtown one way.