Use this map to find all places mentioned in the article below.
Take in the views from Eger’s Minaret (location; open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; HUF 500 admission)
Only three minarets have remained in Hungary from the country’s century-and-a-half occupation by Ottoman Turkey and the one in Eger is in best shape. From afar, it’s a surreal experience to glance at the 40-meter tall slender red sandstone structure amid the city’s myriad church towers (the mosque that once stood beside it was demolished long ago). The panoramic views from up top are worth the climb.
Visit the Castle of Eger (location; open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; HUF 2,000 admission)
In 1552, the vastly outnumbered Hungarian troops successfully fended off the Ottoman army’s siege of Eger. Eger’s heroic defense against the 80,000-strong enemy has been deeply ingrained in the Hungarian consciousness through a popular movie and Géza Gárdonyi’s famous book, Egri csillagok. The castle features the Gothic-style residence where the local bishop once lived and other medieval remains and underground chambers. The exhibits focus on the castle’s history and the particulars of the 1552 battle.
Visit Eger’s Minorite church and the main square (location; open daily; no admission)
Built in 1773, this Roman Catholic church anchoring Eger’s main square has the most monumental Baroque facade in all of Hungary. The undulating, dynamic front brings to mind Italian Baroque churches and is the only such example in Hungary. Inside, there are ornate chapels and ceiling frescoes, while the bronze statue on the main square outside depicts the self-assured István Dobó. He led the Hungarian troops during the famed 1552 defeat of the outsized Ottoman army.
If you find Budapest’s Ottoman-era hammams too busy, here’s your chance for a travel back in time within a cozier and less crowded setting. The highlight is the recently renovated 17th-century main bath topped with gleaming golden mosaics (I only wish the water was a little warmer). A sauna, steamroom, and a range of Turkish massage options are also available.
Visit Eger’s Cathedral & Lyceum (location; open daily; no admission)
This striking yellow neoclassical structure from 1831-36 is the third biggest church in Hungary. The cathedral’s design harks back to the time when the buildings of ancient Greece and Rome inspired architecture, hence the entrance portico supported by Corinthian columns. Outside, there are stone statues of Saint Stephen (István) and Saint Ladislas (László), two of the canonized kings of medieval Hungary. Across the street is the Eszterházy Károly Catholic University — as the bishop of Eger and a wealthy aristocrat, Eszterházy commissioned the building of the school but Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa never granted it university status. The 18th century building featured an observatory (inside the tower), one of the first in Hungary, and a well-stocked library. Today, the former observatory is home to an astronomical museum.
Roam around Eger’s Baroque city center (location)
Lined with charming Baroque residential buildings emblazoned with landmark protection signs, Eger’s city center feels like having been dropped into the set of a period film. Being the seat of the wealthy local bishops also meant that impressive churches and public buildings sprang up, including the bishop’s own residence. Roam around Dobó István utca, Dobó István tér, and Széchenyi István utca for the best experience.