Why visit: Turkish and Baroque architecture, cathedral, Castle of Eger, Bull’s Blood of Eger
Things to Do and See in Eger
Eger is a beautiful historical town located in Northern Hungary. It's most famous for its castle, cathedral, red wine, Baroque palaces and Turkish remains, including the northernmost minaret in Europe. If you are an Amazing Race fan you may remember Eger, from season 6, as it was one of the stops.
Eger was built around a former cathedral, founded in the 10th century by the first Hungarian king, St. Stephen. The city flourished during the Middle Ages when winemaking became the main source of income. In the 16th century, under Turkish occupation, Eger changed radically. Most churches were converted into mosques and public baths and minarets were built.
Although the history of the castle goes back to the 11th century, it truly gained importance in the 1500s, during the Turkish era. Before the occupation Eger was attacked twice by the Turkish army. Against all odds the small Hungarian army of 2,000 including women and children defeated the mighty Turkish army of 80,000 soldiers. Contemporary historians called the famous defeat of 1552 the ‘Siege of Eger’. This historic event was also the basis of a novel called Egri Csillagok (‘Stars of Eger’) written by 19th century author Géza Gárdonyi. To date his novel is part of the national curriculum.
About 45 years later Eger was eventually captured by the Turks and they ruled the city for almost a century. Today, the castle serves as a museum.
Baroque and Neo-Classicist Buildings
After the Turkish occupation the archbishop returned and the city regained its status as an ecclesiastic seat. During the 18th and 19th centuries several beautiful buildings were built in Baroque and Neo-Classicist styles. The historic buildings of Eger make the city an architectural gem. Attractions include the Cathedral of Eger, the Lyceum, the Archbishop’s Cathedral, the Baroque Minorite Church and many more.
Eger Wine Region
Should you need another reason to visit, Eger also has a well-known wine region. It produces the famous ‘Bull’s Blood of Eger’ (Egri Bikavér), which has long been Hungary's most recognized red wine. It's a blend that has varied over the years, although it is originally based on the Kékfrankos grape. The famous white wines of the region are based on local varieties, like Egri Leányka, Olaszrizling, and Debrői Hárslevelű. Top wineries in the region include Tibor Gál and St. Andrea. The place to visit is ‘Szépasszony-völgy’, a valley just south of the city, which has many wine cellars. Visitors are welcome and wine tasting is offered in several locations. Shuttle service is available from the main square (Dobó tér).
Getting to Eger from Budapest: The easiest way to get to Eger is by car. The drive takes about one and a half hour. Take highway M3 to Füzesabony and continue north on route 25. Buses leave from the Stadionok bus terminal and the ride takes a little less than two hours. Trains leave from Budapest Keleti Railway Station each hour.