Eger - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Eger


The name of Eger represents, for every Hungarian, the story of determined patriotism, when the outnumbered heroic defenders in the fortress, led by István Dobó, held out against the Turks in their initial attack in 1552.

One of the country's oldest cities, full of Baroque architecture and grand buildings, Eger has over 200 historical monuments, including Eger Castle, the Copf-style Lyceum with a magnificent frescoed library, the 14-sided, 128-foot (40m) minaret, a reminder of almost 100 years of Turkish rule, and the Archbishop's Cathedral containing the country's largest musical organ. The striking pink and white structure on Dobó István Square is the twin-towered Minorite Church, Hungary's most beautiful Baroque building.

The small town centre is a pedestrianised area that features many brightly painted houses with iron balconies lining narrow, twisting streets. Ornate lampposts and hanging baskets of flowers decorate the cobbled lanes and squares and sculptures representing the battle against the Turks are a proud reminder of the victorious saga.

Eger sits at the centre of the wine-growing region of northern Hungary. This enchanting town, along with its famous history, is where the much-publicised Egri Bikavér, or Bull's Blood, has its origins - the strong, fiery and spicy red wine that is characteristic of the area. Wine growing has been part of its history since the 11th century, started by the monks and continued during the Turkish occupation as an important source of income for the Turks. Wines can be tasted in the centuries-old wine cellars of the Szépasszony Valley (Valley of the Pretty Woman) on the southern edge of town.

Eger is a colourful town known not only for its history, mellow charm and vineyards, but also for its thermal baths. Visitors looking for a bit of time-out can unwind in the peaceful Archbishop's Garden, a leafy park enclosing swimming pools and hot Turkish baths.

Information & Facts

Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language, but German is widely spoken, especially in the areas close to the Austrian border. English is spoken in tourist areas and most hotels.

Even though Hungary is part of the EU it does not use the Euro; the official currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Travellers cheques are not widely favoured. Credit cards most accepted in the country are AMEX, Diners Club, EnRoute, Euro/Mastercard, JCB and Visa, and these can be used to withdraw cash from banks and ATMs and to pay bills in hotels, restaurants and most shops. Banks usually open between 8am and 4pm on weekdays and some are open on Saturdays. ATMs and currency exchange machines are available in towns and cities throughout the country. It is advisable to retain exchange receipts for proof of legal currency exchange.

The medieval castle, which sits on the small hill overlooking the town, has been the site of numerous historical events. The original buildings included a cathedral and the Bishop's Palace dating from the 13th century; the castle was later fortified, the walls providing the cover for the determined defence against the Turks by a small and outnumbered army. The women who fought alongside the soldiers claimed their place in national consciousness during this much-celebrated historical event. The Dobó István Fortress Museum, in the restored Palace, is one of the most popular museums in Hungary and has exhibitions on the history of the town and castle. Also within the castle grounds is the Heroes' Hall, which holds the grave of the celebrated leader, Dobó István, as well as the Prison Museum, Waxworks, and the underground, rock-hewn artillery enclosures. The best views of the town are from the castle walls.

The beautiful valley with its rolling vineyards and century-old cellars and taverns is a favourite attraction in Eger. Wine producers welcome visitors into their quaint old cellars, hollowed out of the porous rock hundreds of years ago, where some of the country's finest red wines can be tasted, including the unique Bull's Blood. Legend has it that the name Bull's Blood originated from the times of Turkish occupation when, forbidden to drink wine by their religion, the soldiers told their officers that they were drinking bull's blood to make them strong for battle. The rows of cellars are numbered and each has a particular charm, whether it is the sociable owner, the chequered tablecloths of an underground tavern or the wooden barrels of fermenting grapes in the uneven rock passageway. It is possible to visit, by prior arrangement, the 'Istenes Pince' or Godly Cellar, the oldest historic cellar in the region. It operated as a secret church during the Turkish occupation and the stone altar and religious work of art still remains.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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