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Northern Hungary
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About Location

Eger is the second largest city in Northern Hungary, the county seat of Heves, east of the Matra Mountains.Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings (including the northernmost Turkish minaret), and red and white wines.The name Eger is thought to derive from the Hungarian word egerfa (alder tree).In German, the town is known as Erlau, in Latin as Agria, in Serbian and Croatian as Jegar / Јегар or Jegra / Јегра, in Czech and Slovene as Jager, in Slovak as Jager, in Polish as Jagier, and in Turkish as Egri.Eger has been inhabited since the Stone Age.Today's Eger was formed in the 10th century by St. Stephen (997–1038), the first Christian king of Hungary, who founded an episcopal see in Eger.The first cathedral of Eger was built on Castle Hill, within the present site of Eger Castle.Eger grew up around its former cathedral and has remained an important religious centre in Hungary since its foundation. The 14th-16th centuries were an age of prosperity for Eger.Winegrowing, for which the town is still famous for, began to be important around that time.The bishops of Eger built beautiful buildings in the city during 18th and 19th centuries.

During the Turkish advance into Central Hungary, Eger became an important border fortress,successfully defended by Hungarian forces in the 1552 Siege of Eger, in the face of overwhelming odds.The castle's defenders, under the command of Captain Istvan Dobo are said to have numbered fewer than 2,000, including women and children, but successfully held off a Turkish army of 80,000 soldiers.The first writer of note to draw on the story was the Hungarian renaissance poet and musician Sebestyen Tinodi Lantos (c. 1510-1556), whose account may have come partly from eye witnesses.Most Hungarians know best the version of this story found in the 1899 novel "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" (Hungarian "Egri csillagok", lit. "Stars of Eger") by the 19th century Hungarian author Gardonyi Geza, which is set reading under the Hungarian national curriculum.

However, Eger was attacked in 1596 by a bigger army of Turks, who took over the castle after a short siege.Then followed 91 years of Ottoman rule in which Eger was the seat of a Turkish vilayet (administrative division).Churches were converted into mosques, the castle rebuilt, and other structures erected, including public baths and minarets.The rule of the Turks in Central Hungary began to collapse after a failed Ottoman attempt to capture Vienna.The Vienna-based Habsburgs, who controlled the rest of Hungary, apart from Transylvania, steadily expelled the Turks from the country.The castle of Eger was starved into surrender by the Christian army led by Charles of Lorraine in 1687, after the castle of Buda had been retaken in 1686.Beside its historic sights and its thermal baths, Eger is famous for its wines.In fact, it produces both red and white wines of high quality Eger Wine Region.The famous and traditional varieties of the region are Egri Leanyka, Egerszolati Olaszrizling, Debroi Harslevelu (whites), and Egri Bikaver (a red). More recently, Chardonnay and Pinot noir wines have appeared.The region's wines are said to bear a resemblance to those of Burgundy.Although the quality of the wines deteriorated in the second half of the 20th century, especially the cuvees, Eger is slowly recovering its reputation as a wine region.

Eger is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Eger, an ecclesiastical province of Hungary founded as a bishopric in 1009 and made a Metropolitan archdiocese in 1804, by Pope Pius VII.The current archbishop-elect, Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, was previously Secretary for the Congregation For Clergy.He succeeds Archbishop Istvan Seregely, who retired because of age.The constituent dioceses of the province were Košice (Kassa, Kaschau), Roznava (Rozsnyo, Rosenau, now part of Slovakia), Szatmar and Szepes (Zipo, Zipsen).Economic recovery was slow after World War I, although the 1899 publication of Gardonyi's "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" made Eger popular as a tourist attraction and archaeological excavation of the castle resumed. In World War II, the city suffered under the retreating German army and the arriving Soviet army, but it managed to escape major bombardment.Eger today is a prosperous city and popular tourist destination with a charming Baroque town centre.

How to Reach

By Train

The main railway station is located 1,5 km from the city center.MAV operates fast train services to Budapest, and the trip is about 1 1/2 hours.This is called the intercity train.The regional train takes just over 2 hours with no changing of trains.Local trains to Fuzesabony and Szilvasvarad also depart from this station.Almar is a popular stop for weekend gardeners and hikers alike.There are also smaller stations located near the Castle (Varallomas), and in the Felnémet district, that are served by the Eger - Szilvasvarad local trains.

By Bus

Agria Volan also operates a fleet of local buses, serving most parts of the city, although the majority of buses run in North - South direction.Line 12 is the busiest line in the city, and it has stops at the Main Railway Station, the long distance bus station and in the city centre.The long distance bus stop is in the city center.Buses depart approx. every 30 minutes to Budapest, and the trip to the capital is about 1 1/2 hours.Agria Volán operates an extensive network of suburban and long distance buses. Other bus companies also offer connections to a variety of destinations.Taking the bus to Felsotarkany gets you close to several hiking and mountain biking trails that start in town.Trails are well marked, and maps come in handy when identifying trailheads starting from town.

By Car

The easiest way to arrive is to take the M3 as far as Fuzesabony, then continue north on route 25.For a more scenic route from Miskolc you can drive through the windy roads of the Bükk mountains.

Key places to visit
Castle of Eger, The Baroque Minorite Church, Archbishop's Garden, Serbian Orthodox Church, The Lyceum


Places to Visit

Castle of Eger

Is a castle in Eger, Hungary.Historically, it is known for its repelling of the Turkish attack in 1552 during the Siege of Eger.The first castle was built on the high hill named Varhegy at Felsotarkany near Eger.During the Mongol invasion in 1241, this castle was ruined, and the bishop of Eger moved it to a rocky hill in the city of Eger. On the hill, a new castle was built, and it developed rapidly. In 1470 a Gothic palace was built. In 1552, a Turkish army of 80,000 soldiers attacked the castle which had 1,935 defenders.The siege failed as the defenders killed more than 8,000 Turks.A total of 1,700 of the defenders survived.In 1701, the Austrians exploded half of the castle (the Kulso var).Archaeological excavations only started in 1925 and the castle was used by the army as barracks until 1957.

The Baroque Minorite Church

Built to the designs of Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer of Prague with original ceiling frescoes by Marton Reindl, is the focal point of the city's most imposing square, flanked by the City Hall and the old priory buildings, part of which contain the Paloc Museum, showing the artefacts of a distinctive regional ethnic community.The square and several of the retail streets around it are pedestrianized.

Archbishop's Garden

Is a park in Eger, Hungary, that covers about 12 hectares.It was created on the area of a former hunting ground.The park walls were built by Bishop Esterhazy.Some of these walls are still standing on the northern and western side of the park.The park was opened to the public in 1919.

Serbian Orthodox Church

Is in Zopf style (1784–86).The interior was commissioned from the best Viennese artists by the rich local Serbian community of that time. It is dominated by a breath-taking iconostasis.

The Lyceum

Designed by Jozsef Gerl and Jakab Fellner and built in 1765-85, is a splendid example of the restrained Zopf style.There are three remarkable 18th-century frescoed ceilings, of which only the one in the library is open to the public.Painted by the Viennese artist Johann Lukas Kracker in 1778, it depicts the Council of Trent of 1545-63, which launched the Counter-Reformation. Among the figures depicted are the Reformers Luther and Zwingli, whose "heretical" books are being struck by a bolt of lightning.The beautifully furnished library opened in 1793.There is a camera obscura or periscope at the top of the building, projecting images of the city onto a table.

Right Time to Visit

August - December
March - June


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