>Travel Pictures



The owner of the pension I stayed at in Krakow recommended Eger as a 'beautiful medieval town' that he and his wife had visited. As it was workoutable to stop by on my way back to Belgrade in April 2007, I decided to stop by. Reading up on it a bit, I discovered that the town is the site of one of the Hungarians' favorite battle stories. Fighting off an invading Turkish army 6 times the size of the defending force in 1552, soldiers, women, and children held the castle that sits above the city and eventually repulsed the attack. As virtually everyone learns about the story in school, the reconstructed hilltop fortress is reportedly one of the most-visited in the country.

Baskets similar to those filled with rocks surround the cannons that ring the walls, looking out over the rows of apartment buildings that the current residents inhabit. The castle is also built around the site that ancient churches sat on as far back as the 11th century. The crosses at the top of the hill are the remains of the stations of the cross erected in the early 1800s.
Inside the walls, old buildings from the villages that used to look up for protection sit beneath the modern flags, and stalls decorated to look like old renaissance fair tents sit in the middle of the green area.
Although the women put up a strong defense and kept the Turks from taking the town then, the victory was not permanent. When another invasion took place more than 40 years later, the Hungarians lost. 
The city was under Muslim control for more than a hundred years, but when they were kicked out, all the mosques and minarets were torn down except one - which stands to this day as a reminder of once was the case over much of this part of Europe.
Beyond the walls, the spires of the 18th century church in the plaza below. Lit up by the evening sun (and pleasantly empty from bustling crowds), the castle grounds we a lovely welcome to the town.
The heart of the city, crowned by the former Minorite church to the left and the Cathedral beyond, sits below the castle and provides a great place to walk, play, sit, and relax. The cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes make the area that much more enticing.
The Minorite church was built in the late 1700s and originally belonged to a branch of the Franciscans. Its facade is an aged and faded pink that highlighted the massive columns to either side of the main door.
Statuary inside the church reflects that found outside, as heroes of the resistance are immortalized in paint and bronze.
Through passages and down narrow roads, I wandered to the cathedral. Built in the mid 1800s, it was designated a Basilica by the Pope in 1970. There was a service in progress when I wandered in, so I listened to the hymns for a few minutes (enjoying seeing the words on a big screen projection, so I could follow the Hungarian pronunciation) before heading back to my hotel for the evening (and back to Belgrade the next day).

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