What first come to mind for most Hungarians in connection with Eger are the castle and its siege by the Ottomans in 1552. The perseverance of the defenders is a point of great pride to locals. Ironically, a castle wall climbing competition is organized each summer where competitors race each other up the wall without defenders throwing rocks down at them. This competition is open to all applicants and will be part of the Rock Masters climbing tour from 2021.
The town of Eger is full of reminders of its 91 year-long occupation after the castle was surrendered after a second siege in 1596. One such reminder is the 40-meter tall minaret, the balcony of which has an excellent view of the surrounding city. It is said that 400 oxes would not make it budge when it was to be demolished after the recapturing of the castle. It is the only minaret in the world to have both a cross and a crescent on its top. Another such reminder is the Turkish Bath, which has a pool dating back to the 1610s and a large dome covered with around 200,000 gold-plated mosaics on its inside.
Some other sights worth seeing:
- The cathedral of Eger, which is the second largest in Hungary. Its construction began in 1831 according to the plans of József Hild, a well-known architect of the time. Decorations of its interior took 120 years, so it even has a fresco depicting farmers.
- The palace of the archbishop, which was only recently reopened to visitors. During the recent renovations, a large secco depicting birds was found in a building that used to house them around 1730.
- The archbishop’s gardens, which are the perfect place to relax surrounded by greenery. There is a 400-year-old sycamore tree and the beach is nearby.
- The “magic tower” within the main building of Eszterházy Károly University contains the continent’s oldest camera obscura. Rumor has it that jealous lords used it to spy on their wives. The panorama terrace here is 44 meters higher than street level and has a great view of the city. The “magic room” here contains a planetarium and is used to demonstrate various physical phenomena through experiments.
- The Marzipan Museum “Kopcsik Marzipánia” is named after master confectioner Lajos Kopcsik who has several international awards, including two Guinness records. It contains around 150 animals, everyday objects, and ornaments all made from marzipan by Lajos Kopcsik and his students. The main attraction here is the baroque room, where everything is made from marzipan, which took 3 years to make.
- The “city under the city”; a network of cellars that has guided tours.
- The Beatles museum, created by two fans from their collections. There are near 2000 keepsakes here including film segments, voice recordings, and personal items.
We hope you will have a great time in Eger!
Cover photo: Eszterházy Károly University , photos: Shutterstock (top and bottom left), Eszterházy Károly University (bottom right)