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The Crown of St. Stephen.

The Crown of St. Stephen

"The Holy Crown of Hungary" (Magyar Szent Korona) or "the Crown of St. Stephen" is the medieval Crown that for centuries was the symbol of Hungarian Kingship and today remains a powerful symbol of the Hungarian nation.

At the end of World War II, the Hungarian Crown guard transferred it to U.S. Army officers to prevent it from falling into the hands of the approaching Soviet army. Cold War tensions, especially the violently suppressed Hungarian uprising of 1956, prevented the return of the Crown to the communist government of Hungary. American authorities designated it "property of special status held in trust and safekeeping" and deposited it in the U.S. Gold Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

In 1977 President Jimmy Carter determined that the time was right to return the Crown to Hungary. The ceremony for the return of the Crown was held on January 6, 1978, in the rotunda of the Hungarian Parliament. The U.S. delegation was lead by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Since then, the Crown has been on display at the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.

The return of the Crown led to a marked improvement in U.S.-Hungarian relations and was a major factor contributing to the historic changes in Hungary following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

In ceremonies on March 18, 1998 at the Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta, a special reproduction of the Crown was presented to Jimmy Carter by His Excellency Árpád Göncz, the President of the Republic of Hungary. In accepting the Crown Jimmy Carter said, "This replica of the Crown of Hungary is a wonderful gift, and I am proud to accept it on behalf of the people of the United States. The people of Hungary trusted us to keep one of their greatest treasures. We returned it when conditions permitted. This replica of the magnificent Crown is a generous and gracious gesture of the abiding faith and trust that exists between our two countries."

The Crown will remain on permanent display in the Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library.

For more information on the Crown of St. Stephen, please visit
Crown of St. Stephen
Embassy of the U.S. - Budapest / Holy Crown of St. Stephen

The Jimmy Carter Library, one of eleven Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, is located at 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30307. The Museum is open from 9 AM to 4:45 PM Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4:45 PM on Sunday. Admission is $8.00; Seniors (60+), Military and Students with IDs $6.00; 16 and younger are free. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. For more information, please call 404-865-7100.

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
441 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia   30307-1498

Telephone: 404-865-7100
Fax: 404-865-7102
Email: carter.library@nara.gov

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