The Telekessy Pharmacy Museum was established over 300 years ago in 1713. It has not, however, always been in this building. Originally it was located across the street in the Jesuit Order House and only moved to its current location in 1900.
In 1968 it closed, only to reopen as a museum in 1987
It was the Jesuits who, with the financial assistance of Bishop Telekessy, proposed the establishing of a pharmacy to provide remedies and medicines to the citizens of Eger
Rococo/Baroque display cabinets in the Telekessy Pharmacy Museum
The beautiful Rococo/ late Baroque oak furniture was made in the Jesuit Order House in Eger and dates from the 1740s. The craftsman's name is not recorded.
We do know, however, the name of the man who skilfully carved and gilded the decorative elements on the display cases, Albert Ginczl to the designs of a certain János Strassalovszky a carpenter from Nagybánya
As can be seen in the picture above, the original containers used to hold the medicines survive. The large white jars made from the finest earthenware are decorated with the crest of Bishop Telekessy.
Portrait of István Telekessy - it was he who gave 2000 forints to establish a pharmacy in 1713
These pots were made in Holics (now in Western Slovakia and called Holíč). This was a famous factory that produced high quality earthenware that was intended to emulate that used by the aristocracy.
It is believed that the examples in the Telkessy Pharmacy Museum are the first pieces to have come from the factory which was established in 1743 by Francis of Lorain consort of Empress Maria Teresia.
Holics earthenware is renowned for its bright colours, and it is testament to the skill and quality of the craftsmen that the Telekessy crest on the medicine jars still retains its vibrancy nearly 300 years after its creation.
Holics earthenware medicine jar displaying the Telekessy coat of arms. This particular jar held `aqv. Paeoniae` (Peony Water) which had many medicinal uses (and still does, in homeopathy) It was indicated for gout, fever, respiratory tract illnesses, menstrual cramps and a whole lot more.
Early 20th century poster outlining the medicinal benefits of Egri Víz
Egri Víz (lit. Eger Water) is a mix of 13 herbs first blended by the Jesuit monk Father Ferenc Simon who worked in the Eger pharmacy for sixteen years. It was while there that he created his famous medicine and it soon became something of a sensation.
Indicated for a myriad of conditions including headaches, dizziness, digestive problems, high and high blood pressure, its use spread throughout Hungary and even to neighbouring countries.
The herbs used in its preparation are as follows:
The ingredients are distilled in alcohol, and the final product is quite potent.
The proportion of herbs and the process of distillation are still a well-kept secret and few know the recipe that goes to make Egri Víz.
With advances in medicine, Egri Viz took on the look of something the apothecaries of old would have utilised and so it retired into the shadows.
Recently, however, it has been dusted off and reintroduced, though now it is less a medicine and more an interesting keepsake from a visit to Eger.
Be Warned: As with many museums and sights in Eger, most of the exhibits do not have descriptions in English, and in all likelihood those working at the museum will only have rudimentary English.