› Eger Minaret

The Eger Minaret

Ottoman Skyscraper

It was in 1687 that the Turks were finally pushed out of Eger by an Austrian Imperial Army led by Charles of Lorraine.

Little was left of the town: according to estimates only 413 houses remained and little of the population. The only real building work that the Ottomans had undertaken over the 91 years of their occupation was the construction of baths and the conversion of churches into mosques

Many of the church towers were utilised as makeshift minarets to call worshipers to prayer, but soon construction began on more permanent structures.

Today the mosques have gone but two of the bath houses remain and just one minaret from an estimated seventeen.

Illustration of early seventeenth century Eger - The abundance of minarets is plain to see.

The minaret is the northernmost in Europe and one of three still surviving in Hungary  - the other two are in Pécs and Érd. It is 40 metres high and built from red sandstone.

It is unusual in so far as it is 14 sided, a feature which makes it incredibly strong.

This strength was experienced by Eger`s townspeople when, in the nineteenth century, they attempted to pull the minaret down in order to make way for a new building, the Brothers of Mary Hospital.

Beware phobia sufferers: If you suffer from claustrophobia or have a fear of heights, think twice before climbing the 97 steps to the Minaret balcony. The way up is very narrow and can get unpleasantly warm in the summer months. Although the view from the top is stunning, you are 40 metres above street level with only what looks like a rusty and unstable railing stopping you from tumbling down.

Having failed with man force they fixed ropes to the structure and, using 400 oxen, tried to pull it down. They failed and instead settled for replacing the Ottoman crescent moon atop the minaret with a Christian cross.

The Mosque or djami (Friday prayer house) proved much less resilient to their efforts and was destroyed (1841); today you can still see where it joined to the minaret.

eger minaret

Due to its height, the Minaret proved to be a magnet for lightning and it wasn`t long before the roof had been completely destroyed.

Archbishop Pyrker paid for the roof to be replaced with one made of iron and later this was replaced with red sandstone.


Spiral staircase to the minaret balcony - not for the faint of heart

Far from being seen as a symbol of occupation, today the minaret is celebrated as a sign of the good relationship existing between Hungary and Turkey. Now at the very top of the building, side by side, there is both a crescent moon and a cross.

Also, in the summer months it is now possible to hear the call of the muezzin, one more sign that things have changed a lot over the past 350 years.

The Muezzin - will his call be heeded?

Admission Charges/Opening Hours:

  • 1st April - 30th September: 10:00  - 18:00
  • 1st October - 31st March: 10:00  - 17:00
  • Entrance fee is 300 huf - no concessions

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