The castle of Eger (16th century)

The castle of Eger (16th century)

The castle of Eger got its final shape and became an important component in the new chain of border forts in the 16th century.



Castle of Eger, Eger, chain of border forts, castle, fortress architecture, fortification, border fort, rook, Ottoman siege, tower, Gárdonyi, Egri csillagok, cathedral, palace, siege, artillery tower, architecture, Hungarian, Ottoman, modern history, history

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The castle of Eger was built on a hilltop. Its external walls and parts of the outer castle were constructed after the Mongol invasion, in the 13th century. The castle was gradually extended, until it got is final shape in the 16th century, shown in the animation.

The fort was divided into two parts: the outer and the inner castle. The latter contained many of the important buildings: the Bishop´s palace, the church and storage buildings. There was a smaller church and residential buildings in the outer castle.

The wall surrounding the castle featured bastions. These were named after the legendary defenders of the fortress. The most important of them was the Dobó bastion, built before the siege of the castle in 1552. There was a corridor along the walls, helping the defenders' movements.

The castle of Eger

The town of Eger lies near the foot of the Bükk Mountains in Hungary. The origins of the castle date back to the 11th century, when a cathedral was built here during St. Stephen's reign. After the Mongol invasion, King Béla IV gave permission to Bishop Lampert to build a castle, which is when a part of the outer castle and the surrounding stone walls were built. After continuous extension and reconstruction work over the centuries, it reached its final shape and became an important component in the chain of border forts in the 16th century, by which time Hungary was divided into three parts.

The fort, built on a hill, was divided into an outer and an inner castle. It was surrounded by a wall with bastions. There were several important buildings within the area of the castle, including the church and the Bishop´s palace.

The castle became famous after the unsuccessful Ottoman siege in 1552. The heroic defenders and their legendary commander, István Dobó became immortalized by the Hungarian writer, Géza Gárdonyi, in his novel, 'Eclipse of the Crescent Moon.'

Géza Gárdonyi

The Bishop´s Gothic palace

The palace was commissioned by Johann Bekensloer, Bishop of Eger in the 15th century. It was built for the comfort of his court and important guests. At this time, several European kings visited the town which made it necessary to build a richly decorated palace, suitable to entertain guests and hold receptions and ceremonies.

The building of the Gothic style palace was completed in 1476. The ground level of the two-story building features a beautiful arcaded archway. Several halls can be found on both levels. There was also a spacious cellar under the palace, which served various purposes - during the Ottoman occupation it functioned as a prison.

The palace was renovated between 1957 and 1965, today we can see it in its original magnificence.

The bastion of the legendary commander

The bastion was built by the legendary commander of the castle, István Dobó, between 1549 and 1552, as an extension of a medieval tower. During this time the castle was remodeled and renovated several times. The fortification has a pentagonal plan, it was built according to the rules of medieval bastion architecture. Italian and Neo-Italian type bastions were more common after this age.

After the siege of the castle in 1552, the bastion was renovated, together with the other damages of the caused by the battle. In the 18th century, it fell into disrepair. The ruined parts were blown up in 1976 to prevent accidents.

Reconstruction work took place in two phases: first the fabric of the building in the 1980s, then the reconstruction of the interior was carried out between 2002 and 2005.


The town of Eger lies near the foot of the Bükk Mountains in northeastern Hungary. The castle of the town was built on a hilltop.
A part of the outer castle and the surrounding stone walls were built in the 13th century, on the order of the Bishop of Eger and based on the policies of King Béla IV after the Mongol invasion of Hungary in 1241-42. The fortress was gradually expanded and remodeled, and it took on its final shape in the 16th century, shown in the animation.

At the beginning of the Modern age, the castle became an important component in the new chain of border forts established against the Ottoman invaders. The defense works were modernized, and the castle was divided into an outer and an inner castle. This renovation was much needed, as the old rhyolite structure would not have been able to resist the artillery of the Ottomans.

After the renovation and remodeling, the castle was surrounded by a double wall and protective bastions. Most of these were later named after Eger’s legendary defenders. The most prominent of the bastions is the one named after István Dobó, commander of the castle during the Ottoman siege. It was built between 1549 and 1552, on top of a medieval bastion. There was a corridor running along the inside of the walls to aid in defense.
In the 16th century, the area of the outer castle consisted of residential and service buildings and a church. The inner castle was protected by an inner wall within the outer castle.

The Bishop's palace is situated on the northwestern side of the inner castle. The ground floor of the two-story building was constructed in the Gothic style in the 15th to 16th centuries, while the Gothic and Renaissance mixed-style top floor was added later, in the 18th century. The modern image of the fortification was greatly determined by the Gothic - Romanesque triple-nave cathedral, with towers that were visible not only from the castle, but the entire area. Unfortunately, this also meant that it was an easy target for the besiegers.

The Castle of Eger became well known from the 'Eclipse of the Crescent Moon,' a novel by the Hungarian Writer, Géza Gárdonyi, about the Ottoman siege. Although the heroic defenders withstood the attacks in 1552, the Ottomans managed to take over the fortress in 1596. During the Ottoman occupation, its structure was further strengthened. The castle fell into decay over the centuries, but due to the work of restorers in the past two decades, tourists can now see it in its original glory.

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