In-depth guide: The Castle of Eger

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What we talk about in this article

The castle of Eger is one of the main visitor highlights in the city of Eger. If you travel to Hungary and plan a trip to this historic city in Northern Hungary, you should also pay a visit to this fortified stronghold in the city center.

In this travel guide, we will supply you with all the information you need to make the best of your visit to Eger Castle.

We tell you about entrance fees, opening hours, getting there and about the exhibitions in the Istvan Dobo castle museum.

On top of that, this article also holds information on complementary things to make your visit even better!

If you’re interested in the actual history of the castle, you can scroll down to the bottom of this article, where we added a brief overview of the enthralling story of the castle!

So keep reading!

Interesting information about the Castle of Eger

The Castle of Eger, standing defiant and majestic, is more than just an architectural masterpiece. It’s a testament to the invincible spirit of the Hungarians. Back in 1552, this mighty fortress was the stage of the Battle of Eger, where a small band of 2,000 Hungarian defenders, against all odds, bravely held off an imposing Ottoman army of 80,000. This heroic stand still resonates today, a rich tale of courage and resilience woven into Hungary’s national identity. Every stone of the Castle of Eger tells the stories of the past, echoing the roar of cannons, the clash of swords, and the unwavering spirit of those who dared to defy an empire. This castle is not just a monument, but a living, breathing chapter of Hungarian history.

Exhibitions and museums inside the castle of Eger

Wandering around the premises of the castle you can visit various buildings which display different aspects of a time far gone.

Relive the siege of Eger castle by emerging yourself in relics, costumes, statues, videos and the total atmosphere of the fortress.

These expositions scattered around the castle grounds create a pretty impressive image of the history of Eger and the significant role the castle played in it.

Let’s get into more detail about the most important exhibitions! 

The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace, an integral part of the Castle of Eger, offers a unique glimpse into ecclesiastical life during the 18th century. Originally serving as the bishop’s residence, it now houses a collection of sacred art and valuable historical documents. This important establishment is a testament to the religious significance and influence in the castle’s history. The palace’s architecture, with its intricate designs, further adds to the rich tapestry of the Castle of Eger’s past. Visiting the Bishop’s Palace is indeed a time-traveling journey into a fascinating era of religious fervor and architectural grandeur.

Within the walls of the Bishop’s Palace, you’ll find a rich array of exhibitions that speak volumes of the castle’s past.

Bishop's Palace

Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition houses an exquisite collection of relics, vestments, and sacred texts that reflect the depth of religious devotion from the 18th century

Library Exhibition is a treasure trove of ancient scripts, manuscripts, and early printed books, some of which date back to the 16th century – a paradise for bibliophiles and historians alike.

The Episcopal Silverware Exhibition showcases a remarkable range of silverware used in religious rites and ceremonies, each piece telling a story of past grandeur.

The Archbishop’s Apartment gives you an intimate glimpse of an Archbishop’s lifestyle in the bygone era.

These exhibitions, each have their own unique charm.

Exhibition about the history of Eger Castle

history castle of Eger
history castle of Eger

Located on the second floor of this magnificent Gothic Palace, you will find an exhibition that delves deep into the rich and fascinating history of Eger Castle. As you make your way through the seven meticulously curated rooms, each adorned with period artifacts and displays, you will be transported back in time to witness the castle’s enduring significance throughout different centuries.

Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the medieval era as you explore the first room, adorned with armor and weapons that once safeguarded the castle’s noble inhabitants. Continue your exploration to the second room, where intricate tapestries and portraits tell the tales of the castle’s illustrious past, offering glimpses into the lives of its noble residents.

As you wander further, you will step into the third room, where the air is filled with echoes of the Renaissance. Here, marvel at the intricately carved furniture and delicate artworks that adorned the chambers of Eger Castle during this period of cultural rebirth. The fourth room awaits, offering a glimpse into the turbulent times of the Ottoman Empire, with displays showcasing the castle’s resilience and the heroic defense of its Hungarian defenders.

The fifth room brings you into the Baroque era, with its opulent furnishings and lavish decorations that reflect the castle’s transformation into a symbol of power and prestige. Step into the sixth room, where you will be surrounded by echoes of the Age of Enlightenment, with scientific instruments and philosophical works that shaped the intellectual landscape of the time.

Finally, the seventh room represents the more recent history of the castle, showcasing its restoration efforts and the preservation of its cultural heritage. As you conclude your journey, take a moment to reflect on the enduring legacy of Eger Castle and its profound impact on the Hungarian people.

Throughout your exploration, the displays and artifacts are thoughtfully accompanied by English explanations, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the captivating story of Eger Castle. If you have a fascination for the castle’s turbulent past, intertwined with the history of the Hungarian people, this unparalleled exhibition is an absolute must-visit, promising to leave you with a profound appreciation for the heritage and grandeur that Eger Castle embodies.

Heroes Hall

Heroes hall
Heroes hall

The Heroes Hall, located on the ground floor of the Bishop’s Palace, is a tribute. This revered space is dedicated to Istvan Dobo, the esteemed leader who led the Hungarians to a glorious victory during the siege of Eger castle in 1552.

At the heart of this hallowed room, you will find the red marble cover of Istvan Dobo’s tombstone. It stands as a symbol of his pivotal role in the historic battle. Surrounding this centerpiece are six majestic white statues, three on each side, each embodying a heroic figure who played a significant part in the fight for freedom.

Notably, among these statues stands a depiction of a woman, paying homage to all the brave women who fought alongside their male counterparts for the liberation of Eger.

The Heroes Hall is a testament to the indomitable spirit and collective courage that shaped the legacy of this historic event.

To visit the exhibition, you are obliged take a guided tour, meaning, you can’t go off wandering in there on your own. You can arrange it at the ticket counter or the information desk inside the castle. While the tour is only available in Hungarian, you’re welcome to enter the room and read English information on the displays.

Dungeon Exhibition

dungeon expo
dungeon expo

The two dimly lit passageways that make sure that this exhibition transport visitors to an ancient dungeon, immersing them in the haunting atmosphere of medieval times. Step back in time and witness the stark reality of the treatment endured by prisoners and wrongdoers of that era.

Within this dungeon space, an extensive collection of artifacts is collected, each with its own chilling story. These objects, once instruments of torment and cruelty, serve as a somber reminder of the dark history that unfolded within these walls. Delve into the depths of human suffering as you encounter tools meticulously designed for bone-breaking, decapitation, burning, shaming, and so much more.

To bring these chilling artifacts to life, each item is accompanied by an informative panel with vivid visual aids. Immerse yourself in the detailed explanations that shed light on the haunting practices and techniques employed by those who wielded these instruments of torture.

Prepare to be both fascinated and unsettled as you embark on this discovery through history, where the shadows of the past come alive to reveal the chilling reality of medieval punishment.

The Ruin Garden

Ruin garden statue Istvan
Ruin garden of the castle of Eger

Just before reaching the entrance to the ‘Dark Gate’ leading to the casemates, take a leisurely stroll through the ancient ruins on the left side of the pathway.

These ruins, which are an integral part of the castle garden, offer a glimpse into the history of a medieval Cathedral that withstood destruction and underwent multiple reconstructions during various occupations throughout the centuries. It is worth noting that the very bricks from this cathedral were repurposed to fortify the sturdy castle walls, further adding to the historical significance of the site.

As you continue to explore, you will encounter the statue of St. Istvan, the revered first King of Hungary, standing tall and proud, a symbol of the nation’s heritage and royal legacy.

The muster of Arms Exhibition

Muster of arms Eger Castle
Muster of arms Eger Castle

The entrance to the Muster of Arms exhibition is situated in a separate tower within the castle grounds. To reach the start of the expo, you have two options: descend to the basement level using an elevator, or taking the stairs.

This exhibition is a haven for weapon enthusiasts, transporting them to a bygone era where craftsmanship and artistry converged. The collection showcases an array of ancient and old-school armaments, each with its own story to tell. From gleaming swords that once defended kingdoms, to intricately crafted knives and spears that bore witness to countless battles, and the timeless elegance of daggers that were carried by warriors of old. But the exhibition doesn’t stop at melee weapons alone. It also features an impressive display of firearms, spanning different eras and showcasing the evolution of technology throughout history.

As you observe these artifacts up close, you’ll notice the fine details that set them apart. Some bear the engraved names of their previous owners, whispering tales of valor and honor. The personal touch adds an extra layer of fascination, connecting you to the individuals who once wielded these weapons and the stories they carried. It’s a testament to the human spirit and the indomitable will to protect what is cherished.

In this immersive journey through time, the Muster of Arms exhibition not only educates and entertains, but it also invites you to reflect on the ingenuity and bravery of those who came before us. It’s an experience that leaves a lasting impression, igniting a deep appreciation for the artistry, history, and the intricate tapestry of human existence.

Casemates Exhibition

Casemates expo castle of Eger
Casemates expo castle of Eger

Within the Casemates exhibition, visitors can explore the lapidarium, which houses remnants of bricks and stones from the former grand Cathedral. The Ruin garden now stands in its place, serving as a testament to its glorious past.

We enjoyed our visit to this section of the castle museum, thanks in part to its superb location in the subterranean passages beneath the castle.

The casemates showcase contemporary exhibits, featuring an array of interactive computer screens that vividly depict the history and invasions of the region.

These fortified corridors, once integral to medieval times, provided secure passage from one side of the castle to the other, adding a fascinating layer to the overall experience.

Eclipse of the Crescent Moon Exhibition

Eclipse of the crescent moon
Eclipse of the crescent moon

“The Eclipse of the Crescent Moon” is a novel by Gardonyi Géza, published in 1899. It portrays the gripping story of the siege of Eger. This exhibition pays homage to the book and the movie adaptation it inspired.

The novel’s characters are based on historical figures and the actual battle, but the author masterfully weaves his own narrative to humanize this brutal conflict. By delving into the daily lives of people during that era, he breathes life into the pages.

Regarded as one of the most renowned Hungarian literary works, this book holds a special place in the hearts of many. It has captured the imagination of countless readers and continues to be widely celebrated in the country. In fact, it was once a mandatory read for Hungarian schoolchildren!

While the museum showcases excerpts and artifacts from the book, most of the information is in Hungarian. Nonetheless, there are English tags available to enhance the visitor’s experience.

The Wax Museum

The Wax Museum in Eger Castle is a special (and weird) exhibition for any history or literature enthusiast. It brings to life characters from the renowned novel, “Eclipse of the Crescent Moon”, showcasing them in detailed, lifelike wax figures, immersing visitors in the historic Siege of Eger.

For this part of the Castle museum you have to pay a little extra. If you are a fan of the novel described above then this is a must. We didn’t visit, because we really don’t like wax statues and things like that, so if you want to know what this exhibition is all about, you’ll have to go and check it out for yourself!

Wandering around the Castle ground

Exploring the numerous small museums in the area is definitely a worthwhile endeavor, but the true highlight of the experience lies in leisurely wandering through the castle grounds.

Take a stroll along the castle passages, and discover the various bastions and courtyards. Allow your imagination to transport you back in time as you envision the daily life that unfolded here.

And of course, don’t forget to take in the magnificent views over the charming town of Eger.

Castle of Eger - Castle canon
View over Dobo square
Castle of Eger entrance
Castle of Eger - Castle ground wall

Special events in the castle of Eger

During the summer season, many activities and special events are organized within the castle grounds.

In August, you can visit the castle to attend a historical events with a Siege reenactment.

There’s also an Eger Castle day in October, and more events with varying dates.

See the full program here.

Practical information about your visit to the Castle of Eger

Now that the rich history and cultural heritage of Eger Castle has ignited your spirit of adventure, it’s time to map out the practicalities of your journey. Let’s delve into the details that will turn your visit into a smooth and memorable experience. From tickets and timing to guided tours, we’ve got it all covered here. Start your exploration, armed with the right information!

Entrance fee to the castle of Eger

A general entrance ticket to the castle costs HUF 2,100 (around €7) for adults. This gives you access to the main exhibits and the freedom to lose yourself in the labyrinthine passages of the castle.

For those with a particular interest in history, or a love for the illustrious characters from the “Eclipse of the Crescent Moon”, the special exhibitions like the Wax Museum require a separate ticket. This comes at an additional cost of HUF 800 (around €2.5). While it might seem a little strange to pay extra, trust me when I say that the lifelike figures and immersive environment are well worth it.

For those who prefer an in-depth exploration of the castle, guided tours are available. These are priced at HUF 3,500 (approximately €11) and offer an enriching journey through the castle’s history, including insights into its fascinating architecture and past residents. With the guide’s vivid storytelling, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped directly into the pages of a historical novel.

Opening hours

The Eger Castle welcomes visitors throughout the year. However, to plan your trip effectively, it’s important to note the varying opening hours according to the changing seasons:

  • Summer Season (April 1 – October 31): The Castle opens its doors early at 8:00 AM, giving you the freedom to spend a full day delving into its rich history. The closing time, at 8:00 PM, leaves ample room for a leisurely exploration.
  • Winter Season (November 1 – March 31): During the colder months, the castle operates under shorter hours, welcoming visitors from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Despite the shorter timeframe, there’s still plenty of time to lose yourself in the castle’s intriguing stories and architectural beauty.
  • Holidays: On national holidays like Christmas, New Year, and Easter, the operation hours may vary. It’s recommended to check the castle’s official website or contact them directly for the most accurate information.

It’s always a good idea to arrive a bit earlier than your planned visit to avoid queues and make the most of your time at the castle.

How to get to the castle

Eger Castle is centrally located in the city of Eger, making it an easily accessible destination. It’s situated atop a hill, with its imposing structure dominating the cityscape.

Its specific address is Vár 1, 3300 Eger, Hungary.

From the city center, you can take a leisurely walk up to the castle, soaking in the city’s charm as you ascend.

Please note, the steep climb could be a bit challenging for some, but the breathtaking views at the top are well worth the effort.

How to get to Eger (from Budapest)

Reaching Eger from Budapest is a smooth journey. You can board a direct train from Budapest’s Keleti Railway Station, and within approximately 2 hours, you’ll find yourself in the charming city of Eger.

Alternatively, you can opt for a bus ride from Budapest’s Stadion Bus Station, which also takes around 2 hours.

Integrate Eger Castle into a one day exploration of Eger

Eger is the perfect city for a day of exploration, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful architecture. It’s a city that can be savored in every sense, from the stunning vista of the Eger Castle, to the delicious local wines, and the charming cobblestone streets. Squeeze the most out of your visit by assimilating the Eger Castle into a day’s exploration of Eger.

We wrote a guide with the perfect itinerary to make the most of your one day in Eger

Visit Eger on a day trip from Budapest

Visiting Eger on a day trip from Budapest is an exciting opportunity to explore the surrounding areas. Budapest offers convenient transportation options, such as trains or buses, that can take you to destinations like Eger, the Danube bend, Visegrád, or Szentendre. These places are rich in history and offer a wide range of experiences for those with a spirit of adventure.

So, if you already spent a few days visiting Budapest, and you’re looking for an interesting side trip, filled with culture and history, one day in Eger, combined with a visit Castle of Eger and the Valley of the Beautiful Women are a great choice.

Visit hidden gems in the area

Eger and the Castle of Eger are well-known and famous for travellers visiting Hungary, but there’s more to the area.

Have you thought about these interesting destinations in the area?

Castle of Eger - view on castle ground
Castle of Eger - city view

To conclude: History of the Castle of Eger

The exact construction date of the original castle, situated on a hill near Eger, remains a mystery. Tragically, it fell victim to destruction in 1241 during the Mongol invasion. However, undeterred by this setback, a new castle was erected on the site.

In 1470, a Gothic palace was added within the castle grounds, enhancing its grandeur. Almost a century later, in 1552, the castle faced a formidable Turkish assault, famously known as ‘The Siege of Eger’. Despite being outnumbered by over 35,000 enemy soldiers, the valiant defenders of Eger Castle, numbering just 2,000, repelled the invaders, forcing them into a retreat.

Regrettably, forty years later, in 1596, the Turkish forces launched another attack, ultimately conquering both the castle and the city.

The Siege of Eger

1552 was a very special year for the city and castle in Eger.

Since 1526, Hungary was under Turkish attack and all the settlements in the area were conquered one by one. The Hungarian army was crushed. By the time the invaders reached the city of Eger, there weren’t many soldiers left to defend the stronghold.

Budapest had already been conquered years before and not much resistance was expected when the invaders prepared to conquer the other cities in the country.

The Hungarians stood their ground, but the defence looked poorly. Little over 2000 people were holding the castle and they were attacked by a massive Ottoman army.

The defenders were only a few soldiers, but mainly peasants and women: the women of Eger!

The battles lasted little over a month and the invaders had to retreat because they suffered many casualties and they could not make their way into the fortress.

Because of this heroic siege, Eger has become the national symbol of patriotic heroism, because their small group of citizens defended their grounds against an army of 35.000 heavily armed attackers.

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