Eger that lies at the foot of the Bükk Mountains is usually thought of primarily as a historic town, yet it is also noted for its splended Baroque architecture, robust wine, thermal and medicinal waters and lively student population. In 2000 our town deservedly won another title, that is "the town of festivals", as cultural programs enrich the entertainment facilities for tourists.
Kossuth Lajos street takes you to György Dózsa square, from where you can see the entrance to the castle. Inside the castle the underground catacombs, the Room of Heroes, the Picture Gallery, the Ruin Garden, the tomb of Géza Gárdonyi, the Mueum of the History of the Castle and the Waxworks exhibitions can be found, which is a perfect way to spend your free time.
Opposite the Líceum we can find the only building built in classicist style in Eger. The Basilica (Cathedral) is the second biggest church in Hungary. It was built between 1831 and 1838 based on the plans of József Hild by the order of archbishop Pyrker. The statues standing in front of the cathedral were made by Marco Casagrande. The Organ of the cathedral w as made by the company named Moser from Salzburg at the end of the 19th century.
Walking along the creek we get back to Klapka street. In Petofi square we can see the thermal and the adventure bath of Eger. The open-air swimming pool has six open or semi open pools for its guests. The town was declared to be an important health resort in 1976. Thousands of cubic metres of water well up every day. Next to the thermal bath we can find the Turkish bath. Its water is good to cure locomotor diseases, gynaecological problems and for the problems of the backbone.
Dobó square is the most unified and closed square of the town. The statues of Zsigmod Kisfaludi Stóbl and Lajos Strobl commemorate the heroic victory over the siege of 1552 against the superior Turkish army. The Turkish army counted some 40-50 thousand people while there were only 2000 defenders in the castle. Captain István Doó and his fistful of people swore to protect and not to hand over the castle. After the 40-day siege the Turkish army gave up and left the area. It was the time when the defenders of Eger, the castle that was t he guard of the northern areas, managed to stop the Turkish advancement. In 1596, when it was defended by mercenaries, the Turkish army managed to capture the castle. The Eger creek used to be the boundary between Heves and Borsod counties. It flooded the town many times before it was embanked. According to records it got its name after the alder trees that can still be found around the town.
Let's start our sightseeing tour in Eszterházy square. Here you can see the building of the Líceum, which was built in late baroque style. Count Károly Eszterházy had the building built in order to have a university in the town at the end of the 18th century. The building is a college today. On the first level of the building you can visit the Library of the Bishopric, which is well known all over the country. This is the home of many old manuscripts and codices and the only letter from Mozart that is in Hungary can also be seen here. The tower of the building is the home of the Astronomical Museum and the so-called "Specule" which is also unique.
Let's go back to Lajos Kossuth Street via Egészségház street. On the left we can see the church of the Franciscan order while on the right there is the Major-Provost's palace. Number 9 on Lajos Kossuth street is the building of the County Hall where you can see the unique hammered ironwork gate of Henrik Fazola. Inside the yard is the old prison building where you can see an exhibition about the history of the town and the sport history of the town.
The Minaret is the most northern monument in Europe from the age of the Turks. The building is 40 metres high and its base has 14 sides. The tower was made from curved sandstone but it survived the centuries in a relatively good condition. There are 97 steps inside that lead you to the round balcony on the top, which is circled by an iron baluster.
One of the nicest church of Central Europe, the baroque style Mindrite church with its unique interior can also be seen in Dobó square. The chime of bells can be heard at 11 p.m., 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. every day. If we face the church you can see the eclectic style Town Hall on the right. Walking along Zalár street we get to the market.
The Greek or Serbian church is at he end of Szécheny street on top of a small hill. The church has very special atmosphere. The memorial room of the Serbian poet Mihály Vitkovics and the gallery of the Hungarian artist György Kepes can be seen in the building of the former clergy house next to the church. György Kepes is one of the key figures of visual arts in the 20th century. In the exhibition you can see more than 200 of his arts (including paintings, photos, plans and sketches) illustrating his life-work accompanied with lots of documents. Let's walk back to downtown along Szechenyi street. On the way back we can visit the only fire station museum in Hungary.
Number 15 in Szécheny street is the Cistercian church. Lots of restaurants and pubs are waiting for tourists in the downtown. It is really worth to sit down and have a rest for a while in one of its terraces.
Walking along Tárkacite;nyi street we get to the Archbishop's Garden. The park with its 22 acres was built during the reign of bishop Eszterházy. The fountain that you can see in the middle of the park was inaugurated in 2000. The park, having elements of the traditional French park building, has been a public park since 1919. In its southwest section there is a stadium, a football filed and several tennis courts.
The Valley of the Beautiful Woman, where there are almost two hundred cellars, has been closely related to the reputation of the famous wines of Eger. There are many legends connected to the valley. According to Ferenc Bakó, who is an ethnographer, the "beautiful woman" was the goddess of an ancient religion, the goddess of love similar to Venus. People showed her sacrifice in this place. Farmers talk about a very beautiful woman, who sold wine in one of the cellars. Others say that the valley was named after a lady of a noble house. According to records of the Archive it is not possible to determine the origin of the name, nor the time when the first cellars were built. The cellars were hollowed into liparite that can be found everywhere around the town. This material is easy to shape and its other advantage is that you can keep the wine on 10 - 15 degrees all over the year. Apart from that the moss and the noble blight that lives in the cellars give it a special atmosphere. Their comfortable aroma help the wine develop a great aroma and also help its aging.
Number 5 in Szécheny street is the Archbishop's palace, which has been the home of the Archbishop of Eger since 1740. This building is the home of the Archbishopric's Central Exhibition where lots of valuable treasures are kept. The artefacts showed here are the masterpieces of the goldsmith's art and the textile industry from the 18th and 19th centuries: cups, ciboriums, chasubles and cloaks. The most interesting and probably the most valuable is the artefact that was given to bishop Gábor Endrodi by Mária Terézia as a gift. The coat is valuable not only because it was a gift but because she had been crowned wearing this coat.