2016. April 12.
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Hollókő (UNESCO) and Eger

Hollókő is a Palóc ethnographic village in Hungary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its name means "Raven-stone" in Hungarian.The village is located in Nógrád county, approximately 91 kilometres northeast from Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It lies in a valley of Cserhát Mountains, surrounded by low peaks.

The natural environment is protected.In the middle of the 13th century, in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion, construction of Hollókő castle first began as a means to protect the area against future attacks. At this time, the area around Hollókő was held by the Kacsics noble clan. The castle was first mentioned in records in 1310. The original village was built just below the castle walls. 

 

The Ottomans captured the castle in 1552 and for the next 150 years, control alternated between Ottoman and Hungarian forces. At the end of the Ottoman era (1683) the castle and the village were finally abandoned and the present village grew up below. Many of the existing houses were first built around this time. The houses, which contain wood in their structure, have had to be rebuilt many times throughout the years due to periodic fires, the last being in 1909. In 1987, the village, castle ruins, and surrounding area were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Eger

Eger is the county seat of Heves, and the second largest city in Northern Hungary (after Miskolc). Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings (including the northernmost Turkish minaret), dishes and red wines. It has an estimated population of 56,530 as of 2011, which makes it 19th largest city in Hungary. The city is located on the Eger Stream, on the hills of the Bükk Mountains.The origin of its name is still unknown. One suggestion is that the place was named after the elder ("égerfa" in Hungarian) which grew so abundantly along the banks of the Eger Stream. This explanation seems to be correct because the name of the town reflects its ancient natural environment, and also one of its most typical plants, the elder, large areas of which could be found everywhere on the marshy banks of the Stream although they have since disappeared. And there is another theory which says that Egers name comes from the Latin word: "ager" (earth). This theory comes from more recent researchers who think that during the 11th and 12th centuries settlers with a Walloon origin ("latins" in Hungarian) moved to this territory. The basin of Eger and the hilly region around it have always been very suitable for human settlements, and there are many archaeological findings from the early ages of history, which support this fact.

Todays Eger was formed in the 10th century by St. Stephen (997–1038), the first Christian king of Hungary, who founded an episcopal see in Eger. The first cathedral of Eger was built on Castle Hill, within the present site of Eger Castle. Eger grew around this cathedral, and remains an important religious centre in Hungary.During the 11th and 12th centuries, Walloon settlers came from the areas beyond the Rhine. They settled with the kings permission, bringing western culture to this region and acclimating the viticulture. The development of the city accelerated with their presence.This development was blocked for a short time by the Mongol invasion in 1241, when the town was ransacked and burned down during the episcopacy of Kilit the Second. During the reign of King Matthias (1458–1490), Eger began to develop again. 

.After the Battle of Mohács (1526) a sorrowful period began in the history of Eger. During the dual kingship the town changed hands almost every year and the Turkish army came closer as well. This circumstance provided the reason for reinforcing the fortress. In the autumn of 1552, Captain István Dobó and his handful of soldiers were successful in defending the fortress and northern Hungary from the expanding Turkish Empire. While István Dobó and his soldiers managed to defend the fortress in 1552, in 1596 the captain at that time and the foreign mercenaries under his rule handed it over. This was the beginning of the 91-year-long Turkish rule in Eger. The minaret, which was built at the end of the 17th century, preserves the memory of this period. Among all the buildings of this type, the minaret of Eger is found in the northernmost point of the former Ottoman Empire. 

 

During the Turkish occupation Eger became the seat of a vilayet which is a Turkish domain including several sanjaks. Churches were converted into mosques, the castle rebuilt, and other structures erected, including public baths and minarets. In the history of Eger, the 18th century was the period of development and prosperity. Many new buildings were built in Baroque and later in Rococo and Neoclassical style, including the cathedral, the Archiepiscopal Palace of Eger, the County Hall of Eger, the Eger Lyceum (now housing the Eszterházy College of Education) and several churches, while others were reclaimed from being mosques.

Eger is famous for its wines, most notably the "Egri Bikavér" (Bulls Blood of Eger). It is also well known for "Egri Víz", a type of brandy which originated in the 18th century, the "bujavászon" (a special Turkish tissue), as well as its thermal baths. Today, Eger is a prosperous city and popular tourist destination with a charming Baroque town centre. Beside its historic sights and its thermal baths, Eger is famous for its wines. It produces both red and white wines of high quality. The famous and traditional varieties of the region are Egri Leányka, Egerszóláti Olaszrizling, Debrői Hárslevelű (whites), and Egri Bikavér (a red). More recently, Chardonnay and Pinot noir wines have appeared. The regions wines are said to bear a resemblance to those of Burgundy. Although the quality of the wines deteriorated in the second half of the 20th century, especially the cuvees, Eger is slowly recovering its reputation as a wine region.

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