In 1596 Eger fell to the Ottomans, all who could, fled.
The Franciscans were the only religious order which remained in Eger during the Turkish occupation, as a result their church is still referred to locally as the `Friends` church.
The Two Towers of the Franciscan Church
With the expulsion of the Turks around 100 years later, the order was presented with a piece of land (with accompanying mosque) on which to build a church and order house.
Yet like so much of the rebuilding of Eger, work couldn`t start due to the Rákóczi War of Independence. The rebellious prince did, however, donate a bell to the Franciscans in 1706, which is still in use today.
A detail of the rather fine entrance to the Franciscan Church
The bell could not be hung for another 30 or so years due to the unrest but eventually the church and order house were completed, the latter in 1749 and the former in 1755.
Much of the building was constructed using stones from the demolished mosque.
I say the buildings were completed, but the facade was only finished in 1776 and the entrance in 1793 (built by local stonemason János Ádam, who also worked on the gate of the Serbian church)
Interior of the church with pulpit on the right
The interior is, like much of the city, in the late Baroque style.
The high altar is quite spectacular and, unusually, crowned with a small dome on Corinthian columns. The painting is by Paul Kronowetter and entitled 'Blessed Virgin of the Immaculate Conception", it is flanked by two gilded wooden statues, one of St.Anne and the other St. Joachim
Also of note is the rather fine pulpit, decorated on its side with reliefs depicting scenes from Jesus' life; on the upper part there are the allegorical figures of Belief, Hope and Love.
The 'frescoes' on the ceilings are of particular interest as they are not actually frescoes, rather they were painted on canvas (by Sándor Ungvary in 1920) and then pinned to the ceiling, if you look closely at them their true nature is soon revealed.
Unlike most Roman Catholic churches there are no confessionals, the building was deemed too small for them and so are situated in the order house next door.
The High Altar with its distinctive dome