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Visit in Eger, the city of Hungarian heroes, Hungary

 
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erato's pictureby erato review
added on 21st of August, 2009

In the North-Eastern part of Hungary lays the city of Eger, famous for the wine produced in the area and the battle of Eger in 1552 – and the famous novel, The Stars of Eger, based on the events. These two things provide more than enough causes to visit the city.

Eger - The Curiosities of the City

The city is surrounded by huge grape plantations, from the castle there is an amazing view on the never-ending grape fields. You might have heard of the Egri Bikaver (Bulls Blood) produced in the region, it is a dry wine, a mixture of more types of excellent quality black grapes. (It is Gérard Depardieu’s favorite!)

There are beautiful Christian churches in the center of the city, 4 or 5 very close to each other, but there is something that really worth the effort to visit to the center, right next to a Catholic church you can find a minaret. This is a 40 m high tower used during the Ottoman rule in the second half of the 16th century. The muezzin (Muslim priest) climbed to the balcony around the top of the tower to shout laud ‘Allah Akbar’ five times per day. This was the sign on what the Muslims had to turn to east (to the direction of Mecca) and pray. You can also climb all the 97 stairs to the balcony for only 1 Euro. The view is very beautiful but it is not recommended for those with claustrophobia or who are afraid of height.. J

Eger - Back to the Middle Ages

The castle of Eger is beautiful. The entrance costs 4 Euro for adults and 2 Euro for children; if you want to make photos, you will also have to pay 3.5 Euro per camera.

There are guards wearing the clothing of the age (16th century) at every gate and door. They stay still, whatever you would do, without even smiling. The change of guards is also very nice, they are marching through the yard of the castle following the captain’s orders. Once they were marching next to a tourist group made up mostly by women and we could hear the captain’s order: ‘Girls-on-the right!’ and the answer of the soldiers in choir: ’Wow-how –pretty!’ It was very funny and a nice gesture. By the way, the change of the guards is marked by cannon fire at 11 am and 4 pm.

There were many cannons on the yard, all turned to the city, maybe in case the Ottomans come back. We also saw the ruins of the church of the castle, it was damaged during the siege of the castle.

During the summer, there are festivals and other programs every week. There was a knights’ competition on the yard on this weekend (8-9 August 2009), between several historic-military organizations, who keep the medieval way of living alive, with real bows, swords, shields and fight, of course. They had a narrator, who also gave a description of the weapons, techniques of fighting and pieces of clothing. There were also comedians who gave very short, spontaneous jokes among the tourists. Once pretending that they are thieves and one of the tourists is a guardian, pulled the poor guy down the ground and tied his legs and arms. (After that they released him, of course.) :)

Eger - Attractions inside the Castle

Visitors can also enter into most of the casemates under the castle, some parts of them give home to museums. The most interesting was the waxworks exhibition with Geza Gardonyi, the writer of the novel that I have mentioned before and his characters. My favorite was the wax figures of the women throwing spears and hot water onto the enemy. The entrance here costs 2 Euro for adults and 1 Euro for children. The Medieval Museum was also very nice with weapons, clothing and other objects; the entrance costs the same as the waxworks exhibition. The torture room was also really amusing and it is for free. ;)

On the yard there were many gunsmiths and bow-makers who use the traditional methods to make swords, bows and knives and ornate them with old Hungarian patterns. These are not very cheap; one bow costs 400 Euro, for instance. You could also try bows on the yard of the castle, 10 shots cost 2.5 Euro.

Note that I gave the prices in Euro, but the currency in Hungary is the Forint (Ft).

By the way, just to make the story of the siege of 1552 clear, the 2000 soldiers and civilians, men and women kept the castle until the winter came and the Ottoman army of 100.000 soldiers, unable to resist the cold winter, marched by saying ‘Allah is with the Hungarians!’.

It is wonderful to see the scene of the favorite novel of one’s childhood. It was very alive and it feels like you are a part of it. It is amazing. If you don’t believe me, go and see yourself! :)

 

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Recommended Eger Guide

Eger Sights

As the Festetics Castle is a symbol of Keszthely, and the Buda Castle would be presented as a symbol for the capital in a Budapest Travel Guide or a Budapest Sights description, the Eger Castle represents a real city symbol and is undoubtedly the very heart of Eger. The castle was first built on the Castle Hill, then, it was rebuilt after its demolition during the Mongol invasion, and became famous for its legendary story of victory during the 1552 Siege of Eger. The castle now hosts several museums: the Dobó István Castle Museum, the Eger Picture-Gallery with painting exhibitions, the Panoptikum with displays of wax etc.... Read more »

 
 
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