The Castle of Eger
The construction of the stone castle in Eger was commissioned by the bishop of the city following the Mongol invasion of 1241-1242. For a long time it had an important role in the country’s defense, especially in that of Upper Hungary. Even at the time of Saint Stephen’s reign in the early 11th century, Eger functioned as an episcopal seat. The stronghold earned its renown due to a glorious Hungarian victory over the Ottoman forces led by Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha in 1552. The tale of the defenders’ heroism was later told by the poet, Sebastian Tinódi (Tinódi Lantos Sebestyén). In the 20th century, the famous writer, Géza Gárdonyi also wrote about the siege in his novel, Eclipse of the Crescent Moon. Due to the novel, the castle and the name of Gárdonyi and István Dobó (captain of the castle during the siege) became inseparably fused. Gárdonyi was even buried within the stronghold; on the writer’s grave his famous epitaph reads: “Only his body”. Although Dobó’s body was not buried there, he still has a memorial plaque in the castle museum.
The castle is formed by the stronghold’s inner and outer walls. Its layout strongly resembles a turtle. The oldest and most important part of the stronghold is its inner castle. The most significant building in its courtyard is the two-story-high episcopal palace, the oldest building in the castle. A baptismal chapel from the era of King Stephen I in the early 11th century, and the ruins of a 12th-century Romanesque cathedral also can be found within the boundaries of the castle.
Mark Walton Jersey