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Town Under The Town

The Archepiscopal Wine Cellars

With the expulsion of the Turks, the returning Bishop, György Fenessy, decided he no longer wanted his official residence to be in the almost completely destroyed castle.

So construction began on a new palace, which was built from rhyolite tuff a soft, volcanic stone abundant in the Eger region.

The stone was quarried from a site opposite that of the palace, both plots having been purchased by the Church at the same time.

Before long a network of tunnels had been excavated, a network that was to form the basis of the Archiepiscopal Wine Cellars.

Although up to four kilometers long, it was not difficult to fill the cellar, since in this part of Hungary the tithe (the tax due to the church) could be paid in wine.

Before long, the cellar system was awash with the stuff, it is estmated that at one point it held 11 million litres.

The wine that filled the cellars didn't just come from the Eger wine growing region but from as far afield as Hatvan to the west and Munkács (Mukacsiv) to the east.

town-under-town

A forlorn statue, originally located in the Bishop`s Palace, lurks in the cellar.

After the second world war, all the archdiocese's wine was removed from the cellars.

Now that the cellars had lost their purpose they were allowed to fall into disrepair.

Wear Warm Clothes: Although it may be steaming hot outside, the temperature in the cellar is a constant 12°C/54°F. Bring warm clothes with you, as the contrast between in and out can be very uncomfortable

It was until the 1970s that the authorities began to take an interest in preserving Eger's wine heritage and, with this in mind, extensive renovations of the cavernous system were undertaken.

As with the castle, however, the repairs were not particularly symapthetic and involved a lot of concrete, and to top it off those responsible neglected to damp-proof the cellars.

The result is that today there is quite a lot of water in some of the tunnels thus making it impossible to visit the entire system. Although, on the plus side this oversight has created a number of interesting stalactites as the mineral rich water drips down from the ceiling.

The cellar system is far from watertight

You can only enter the exhibition with a guide. The guides speak English German and, of course, Hungarian. Tours start every hour on the hour and last for about 45 minutes.

Look out for the so-called pillared room which is where seven cellar lines intersect with another seven creating a mesmerising net-like sight which will disorientate you (hence the need for a guide).

Throughout the tour you will also be introduced to aspects of life in Eger in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, including basket weaving, agriculture, and so on.

town under the town

The cellar system is not just concerned with the history of winemaking in Eger, but other activities also.

Admission Charges:

  • Adults:                             950,- HUF/person
  • Under 18 and over 62:     500,- HUF/person

Opening Times

  • 1st April - 30th September:
    9:00 am - 7:00 pm
      Final tour starts at 18.00
  • 1st October - 31st March:
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Final tour starts at 16.00




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