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› Géza Gárdonyi Museum
› Géza Gárdonyi Museum

Géza Gárdonyi Museum

Home to Hungary`s Best-loved Writer

In 2005 a country-wide search took place to determine the best-loved  novel among Hungarians.

After much questioning of the general populace, a clear winner emerged, Egri Csillagok/Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, a historical novel set during the 1552 siege of Eger and published in 1899.

This was hardly a surprise as this book has been read by generations of primary school children, held up as an example of the brave Hungarian spirit defying overwhelming odds.

The author, Géza Gárdonyi, was born in Agárdpuszta but moved to Eger in 1897 and spent the remainder of his life in the town, writing and working as a journalist.

Today the house where he spent much of his life has been turned into a museum celebrating his life and work.


Gárdonyi Géza


The museum is of far more significance to Hungarians than tourists as Gardonyi and his work looms large over their formative years.

This is not necessarily because he was a great novelist, rather because of the impact Eclipse of the Crescent Moon  had on the national consciousness.

Before the historical novel came out, the great victory of 1552 had been largely forgotten.

Gárdonyi changed all this and it is not difficult to see why it has retained its popularity and place in the national curriculum.

Today it resonates still more as Hungary tries to find its place in an increasingly fractured world that at times they is feel hostile towards them.


gardonyi-museum

The Gárdonyi Museum overlooks Eger Castle, the setting of his best-known work Eclipse of the Crescent Moon


The house itself is relatively simple and the contents reflect the life of a middle class artist, if it didn't have a connection to the well-known artist you'd be in and out in a few minutes.

The entrance hall was used by Gárdonyi as a library, the bedroom is relatively spartan except for the carved desk at which he worked and from where he overlooked the castle.


Gárdonyi's desk.

The study reveals the writer`s only vice, tobacco. The walls still display that charming shade of brown that only years of smoking can achieve.


Bronze of Gárdonyi in the garden of the Museum


Gárdonyi was also interested in cryptography and wrote extensively about the subject, examples of which can be seen in the display cases in the study.

If you look up you can also see a skylight put in by the author as he needed more light with which to work; he shuttered the other windows to keep intrusive noise to a minimum.


gardonyi-grave

It is in the setting of his greatest novel that you can find Gárdonyi's last resting place, Eger Castle



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