Hotels, history and sights of Eger, Eastern Hungary
Eger is one of the country's most attractive Baroque cities, a 1000-year-old episcopal seat - today an archiepiscopal centre - with a glorious historical past and great historical monuments.
István Dobo, castellan, gave the town the title "patriotic town" for his month-long resistance in 1552 against Turkish forces which had a superiority of 20-times Dobo's small army.
Géza Gárdonyi wrote an immortal novel about the town at this time (The Stars of Eger).
Eger is a town of medicinal baths and students, and also fine wines. The excellent reds and whites of this famous historical wine region are served in wine cellars that have seen the passage of several hundred years.
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Hotel Eger*** & Park ****, a patinated hotel complex, is situated in the inner city, 500 meters from Dobó Square, the historical center of Eger, and next to Gárdonyi Géza Theater, the center of cultural life.
This hotel can be found in a delightful 18th century townhouse, situated on the historical main square (Dobo ter) of Eger, and within a few yards of the castle ramparts.
History and main sights of Eger
The BASILICA of Eger (Eszterházy tér), Hungary's second largest church, was built in neoclassical style in just five years from 1831. It has the largest organ in the country (30 minute organ concerts daily 11.30 am, on Sunday 12.45 pm, between 15 May-15 October).
The ARCHIEPISCOPAL PALACE (Eszterházy tér) has been the residence of the bishops of Eger for 250 years. The history of the palace can be seen at the exhibition of the ARCHIEPISCOPAL COLLECTION (Széchenyi u. 1.). The late Baroque LYCEUM (Eszterházy tér 1.) was built at the end of the 18th century as a university; today it functions as a teacher training college. The DIOCESAN LIBRARY is situated on a floor of the Lyceum: one of the country's most beautiful libraries with decorative carvings and beautiful telling fresco, 130,000 volumes, old codices, and the only Mozart letter in Hungary.
The SPEKULA OBSERVATORY (1776) is in the tower, where a camera obscura projects a picture of the town onto a white tabletop set up in a darkened room. Besides this the Observatory also has high-tech equipment. Several Baroque palaces decorated with wrought iron balconies can be found in KOSSUTH LAJOS STREET: Small and Grand Provost's Palace, Foglarianum, and Franciscan Church.
The COUNTY HALL (Kossuth Lajos u. 9.) with Henrik Fazola's masterwork wrought iron gates, a local history exhibition `HEVES COUNTY AND EGER IN THE 18-19th CENTURY' and a Sports Museum in the former prison building in the courtyard. The medieval EGER CASTLE (Vár) comprises: ruins of the 13th century cathedral, the 15th century GOTHIC Episcopal PALACE, and the ISTVÁN DOBO CASTLE MUSEUM: Picture Gallery (16-18th century Italian, Flemish, French, Austrian and Hungarian paintings), castle history exhibition, tombstone of István Dobo, lapidarium, prison museum, mint and waxworks.
Under the castle there are underground fortifications, and in the courtyard the grave of Géza Gárdonyi; the GÉZA GÁRDONYI MEMORIAL MUSEUM (Gárdonyi Géza u. 28.) operates from his former house.
The MINARET is Europe's most northerly structure dating from the Turkish period.
The MINORITE CHURCH (Dobo tér 3.), one of this continent's nicest Baroque churches, was built by the Eger Minorite Order in 1758. It has a magnificent interior.
The PALOC FOLK ART MUSEUM (Dobo tér 6.) displays homespuns, embroideries, ceramics, furs, a traditional front room for guests, and ceremonial Paloc folk costumes in the form of a wedding procession. SZÉCHENYI STREET (the town's pedestrian street) is lined with terraced cafés and confectioneries.
It is worth visiting the ISTVÁN TELEKESSY PHARMACY MUSEUM (Széchenyi u. 14.) equipped with Habán pharmacy jars etc. A beautiful iconostasis dating from 1789 can be seen in the SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (Vitkovics u. 30.).
The former Priest's House (Széchenyi u. 55.) holds the MEMORIAL ROOM OF MIHÁLY VITKOVICS, Serbian poet, and exhibition by GYÖRGY KEPES, photographer.
The TURKISH BATHS (Fürdö u. 1.) is a fascinating memory of a bathing culture created under Ottoman occupation (1596-1686), with medicinal water particularly recommended for locomotor disorders. The STRAND BATHS (Petöfi tér 2.) with six pools is open throughout the year.
Eger is also the homeland of full-bodied red wines: the famous EGER BULL'S BLOOD can be tasted in the century-old cellars cut into the tufa in SZÉPASSZONY VÖLGY (Valley of the Beautiful Lady).