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Coordinates: 47.89902° 20.37470°

Country: Hungary
County: Heves
Area: 92.2 km²
Population (2005):
- Density:
Postal code: 3300
Area code: 36
Coordinates: 47.89902° N 20.37470° E

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Image:Hungary Eger Dobo ter.jpg
Eger - Dobó square and the castle.
Eger is also the German name for the Czech town Cheb and the Ohře river.

Eger (Serbian and Croatian: Jegar / Јегар or Jegra / Јегра; Czech: Jager; Slovak: Jáger; Polish: Jagier; Turkish: Eğri; German: Erlau; Latin: Agria) is a city in northern Hungary, the county capital of Heves, east of Mátra mountains. Eger is mostly known for its castle, thermal baths, historical buildings (including the northernmost Turkish minaret) and the best Hungarian red wines.


[edit] History

Eger has been inhabited since the Stone Age. During the early Middle Ages the area was inhabited by German, Avar, and Slavonic tribes. Hungarians occupied the area in the 10th century. St. Stephen (997–1038), the first Christian king of Hungary founded an episcopate in Eger. The first cathedral of Eger was built on the Castle Hill, upon the present site of Eger castle. Eger was built around its former cathedral, and has remained an important religious centre of Hungary since its founding.

The 14-16th centuries were an age of prosperity for Eger. Winegrowing, for which the town is famous, began to be important at that time. During the reign of King Matthias (1458-1490) when Renaissance culture began to affect Hungary, bishops of Eger had beautiful buildings built.

During the Turkish occupation of Hungary, Eger became an important border fortress. Under the command of Captain István Dobó the defenders of the castle (less than 2,100 people, including women and children) successfully fought back a Turkish army of 80,000 soldiers. Most Hungarians know the story of the siege from the novel "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" (Hungarian "Egri csillagok") by the 19th century Hungarian author Gárdonyi Géza.

In 1596 a bigger army of the Turks attacked Eger, and took the castle after a short siege. Eger then fell under Turkish rule for more than eighty years and became the capital of a Turkish vilayet (administrative division). The Turks transformed churches into mosques, rebuilt the castle, and built other structures including public baths and minarets.

After the Turks' failed attempt to conquer Vienna, the Habsburgs, who controlled the rest of Hungary, began to drive the Turks out of the country. The Christian army led by Charles of Lorraine occupied the castle of Buda in 1686 and starved the castle of Eger into surrender in 1687.

Eger began to prosper again. The bishops reclaimed the town, causing many of the Protestant inhabitants to leave. During the 1703-1711 war of independence against the Habsburgs, the town supported the Hungarian leader Prince Francis II Rákóczi, but the Imperial army defeated the Hungarians, and soon after that Eger suffered from a plague. During the 1700s many people immigrated to Eger, and between 1725 and 1750 the population has risen from 6000 to 10,000. New buildings were built in Baroque (and later in Zopf) style, including the cathedral, the Episcopal Palace, the county hall, the college (now called Eszterházy College after its founder) and several churches. Also the mosques were transformed into Catholic churches.

The 19th century began with disasters: a fire destroyed half of the town in 1800, and the southern wall of the castle collapsed in 1801, ruining several houses. Eger became archiepiscopal seat in 1804. Despite the town's struggle for greater freedom from the church's rule, the archbishop remained firmly in control of the town. In 1827 a fire damaged most of the town center again, and four years later an epidemic killed more than 200 people.

Image:Hungary Eger Basilica 2.jpg
The Basilica of Eger.

The inhabitants of Eger took an active part in the revolution in 1848. Even though the revolution was suppressed, the age of landowners and bondsmen was gone forever, and Eger became free from the archbishop's rule in 1854. Sadly the railway main network was complete by that time so Eger was not included on the main line between Miskolc and Budapest, leaving the role of railway junction to the nearby small town of Füzesabony.

After World War I, economic recovery started slowly. Gárdonyi's "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" (1899) made Eger popular as a tourist attraction, and the archaeological excavation of the castle began. World War II, the retreating German army, and the occupying Soviet troops all had their effects on the town, but the town was never bombed.

Today's Eger is a prospering town and a popular tourist destination with a charming Baroque town centre.

[edit] Ecclesiastical history

Eger is a Roman Catholic archiepiscopal see and Ecclesiastical province of Hungary, founded as a bishopric in 1009 and made a Metropolitan archdiocese in 1304, by Pius VII. The suffragan dioceses are Kosice (Kassa, Kaschau), Rozsnyó garve (Rosenau), Szathmàr and Szepes (Zipo, Zipsen).

It had in the eary 20th century 633,804 Latin Catholics; 81,217 Greek Catholics and 503,407 partly Greek Schismatics and partly Protestants, with a sprinkling of Jews. The 200 parishes had 342 secular clergy and 51 religious. The vernacular tongue is largely Hungarian but German, Croat, Slavonic and Armenian are also spoken.

[edit] Districts of Eger

  • Almagyar - This hill in the Eastern part of the town is one of the posh areas of Eger, near to the castle. Its southern part gives place to some buildings of the Eszterházy College.
  • Almár - The northernmost part of the town, mostly weekend cottages can be found here.
  • Belváros (Downtown) - The center of Eger is often called "the Baroque Pearl of Europe". Here are located the Dobó square, the main square of the historical town, surrounded by Baroque houses and the St. Anthony Church. Other historical buildings include the Cathedral and the Lyceum.
  • Berva housing estate
  • Castle of Eger - The oldest and most famous part of Eger.
  • Cifra hóstya - North from downtown, this part of the town is full of small houses and narrow one-way streets. You can find the Firefighter Museum here.
  • Csákó - Garden town area with larger houses, east of the train station.
  • Érsekkert (Bishop's Garden) - The largest park of Eger with sport facilities, a small lake, and a fountain.
  • Felnémet - This village was annexed to Eger in the second half of the 20th century and still preserves the characteristics of a village.
  • Felsőváros (Upper Town, former Cheboksary Housing Estate) - The largest housing estate of Eger is full of four- and ten-storied concrete buildings, providing homes for one third of the town's population. Three secondary schools can be found in this district.
Image:Megyeszékhely - Heves megye - Eger.jpg
Aerial photography of part of the town
  • Hajdúhegy - Garden town area similar to that in Almagyar Hill.
  • Hatvani hóstya - The district is divided by the Highway No. 25. Eger's stadium and Protestant church can be found here.
  • Industrial zone - Many multinational companies settled here, east from Lajosváros.
  • Károlyváros (Charles Town) - One of the largest districts of Eger, Károlyváros is west from downtown. The Tobacco Factory, the High School for Health Professions, and the Dobó István Garrison can be found here.
  • Lajosváros (Louis Town) - This district is in the southern part of the town. Many high schools and student hostels can be found here. Detached homes make up most of the district.
  • Maklári hóstya, Tihamér - This district is one of the fastest developing parts of the town. Public swimming pools can be found here.
  • Pásztorvölgy - A garden town area.
  • Rác hóstya - Another garden town area west from Upper Town.
  • Szépasszonyvölgy ("Valley of the Beautiful Women") - One of the most famous areas of Eger and the Eger wine districts, Szépasszonyvölgy is mostly known for its wine cellars.
  • Tetemvár - Another garden town area. According to the legend, the dead Turkish soldiers were buried here in 1552, hence the district's name ("Dead Bodies Castle".)
  • Vécseyvölgy - A garden town area with a small unpaved airport that's used for sport purposes only.

[edit] Main sights

The cathedral at night
  • Castle of Eger
  • The Cathedral
  • Minaret (northernmost minaret of Europe and one of only three existing minarets in Hungary)
  • Szépasszonyvölgy (The Valley of Beautiful Woman - location of many of the wine cellars in the area
  • Dobó Square
  • Teacher's training college (A camera obscura in the top of the building reflects images of the entire city on a table in front of you.)
  • Turkish Bath
  • The Minor-Provost’s Palace
  • Archbishop’s Garden
  • The Fazola gate
  • The Minorite Church
  • The Orthodox Church
  • The Cistercian church
  • The Archbishop’s palace

[edit] Twin towns

[edit] Trivia

Eger is one of only four Hungarian municipalities which have a Mars crater named after them (in 1976). The other three are Paks, Bak and Igal.

[edit] Sources and external links

Counties of Hungary Image:Flag of Hungary.svg
Counties: Bács-Kiskun | Baranya | Békés | Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén | Csongrád | Fejér | Győr-Moson-Sopron | Hajdú-Bihar | Heves | Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok | Komárom-Esztergom | Nógrád | Pest | Somogy | Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg | Tolna | Vas | Veszprém | Zala
Urban counties: Békéscsaba | Debrecen | Dunaújváros | Eger | Érd | Győr | Hódmezővásárhely | Kaposvár | Kecskemét | Miskolc | Nagykanizsa | Nyíregyháza | Pécs | Salgótarján | Sopron | Szeged | Szekszárd | Székesfehérvár | Szolnok | Szombathely | Tatabánya | Veszprém | Zalaegerszeg
Capital: Budapest
See also: Administrative divisions of the Kingdom of Hungary; Geography of Hungary

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