Eger

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  • 1. Eger Vár

    Castle/Palace

    Eger Vár was built after the devastating Tatar invasion of 1241–42. When Béla IV returned from exile in Italy, he ordered the erection of mighty fortresses like those he had seen in the West. Within the castle walls an imposing Romanesque cathedral was built and then, during the 15th century, rebuilt in Gothic style; today only its foundations remain. Inside the foundation area, a statue of Szent István (St. Stephen), erected in 1900, looks out benignly over the city. Nearby are catacombs that were built in the second half of the 16th century by Italian engineers. By racing back and forth through this labyrinth of underground tunnels and appearing at various ends of the castle, the hundreds of defenders tricked the attacking Turks into thinking there were thousands of them. The Gothic-style Püspök Ház (Bishop's House) contains the castle history museum and, in the basement, a numismatics museum where coins can be minted and certified (in English). Also here are an art gallery displaying Italian and Dutch Renaissance works; a prison exhibit, near the main entrance; and a wax museum, depicting characters from the Hungarian historical novel Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, about Hungary's final expulsion of the Turks. Videotaping and picture-taking are not allowed inside the museums, but are okay (at no charge) on the castle grounds.

    Dózsa György tér, Eger, Heves, Hungary
    36-312–744

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Castle and museums 1,200 Ft
  • 2. Bazilika

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The grand, neoclassical Bazilika, the second-largest cathedral in Hungary, was built in the center of town early in the 19th century. It is approached by a stunning stairway flanked by statues of Sts. Stephen, László, Peter, and Paul—the work of Italian sculptor Marco Casagrande, who also carved 22 biblical reliefs inside and outside the building. Ironically, perhaps, a few yards to the left of the main steps leading up to the Bazilika—on what appears to be its property—is a popular wine bar built into the high brick wall that flanks each side of the steps. From May through September, organ recitals are held Monday through Saturday at 11:30 am and Sunday at 12:45 pm. It's best to visit when no Masses are taking place—from 9 until 6.

    Eszterházy tér, Eger, Heves, Hungary
    36-515–725

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Suggested donation 300 Ft for Bazilika and 800 Ft for organ concerts
  • 3. Kisvonat

    Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    The Kisvonat, a miniature tram on wheels that looks like a train, leaves from Dobó tér every hour on the hour for an approximately 40-minute tour of Eger's historical sights.

    Dobó tér, Eger, Heves, Hungary
    30-928–8161

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 700 Ft
  • 4. Szépasszony-völgy

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Eger wine is renowned beyond Hungary. The best-known variety is Egri Bikavér (Bull's Blood of Eger), a full-bodied red wine. Other outstanding vintages are the Medoc Noir, a dark red dessert wine; Leányka, a delightful dry white; and the sweeter white Muskotály. The place to sample them is the Szépasszony-völgy, a vineyard area on the southwestern edge of Eger's city limits. More than 200 small wine cellars (some of them literally holes-in-the-wall) stand open and inviting in warm weather, and a few are open in winter, too. You may be given a tour of the cellar, and wines will be tapped from the barrel into your glass by the vintners themselves at the tiniest cost (but it's prudent to inquire politely how much it will cost before imbibing).

    Szépasszpny Völgy, Eger, Heves, Hungary
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