Frontier Castle Festivities in Eger
Since 1996, the last week of July has been set aside for the annual Frontier Castle Festivities in Eger. As part of the history festival, medieval craftsmen set up shop in the castle yard and practice their traditional crafts for audiences.
Every day during the four-day festival, participants dressed in authentic costumes parade through the historical town centre, singing and playing music as they make their way up to the castle. Here, the programme of historical events are already underway. Always a favorite among visitors is the medieval tournament; over the years more and more professionals compete in the art of medieval warfare, including sword fighters, spear and knife throwers, fencers, and archers. These shows take place in the courtyard in front of the Gothic Palace.
Adults and children alike are thrilled by the shows put on by stilt-walkers and giant puppeteers, while the youngest of our visitors always enjoy puppet shows.
Music and dance play a vital part in creating the proper historical atmosphere. However, visitors may hear much more besides Hungarian folk music, as the world’s other musical traditions are also well represented: past years have featured everything from Viennese court waltzes to middle-eastern belly dancing, Turkish pipes to Welsh harps. The rich and varied programme offers something for everyone. Two national competitions are always in progress during the Frontier Castle Festivities in Eger. One of them is the historical archery competition, where historically-dressed archers, competing in various categories, battle it out on a special archery lawn. Offering an entirely different experience is the bastion climbing competition, where expert climbers compete to scale the walls of the Dobó Bastion as quickly as possible. Interested (and properly insured) amateurs who may also try their hand.
These, the most popular events, are guaranteed to be present annually. Other events change year to year. Since 1999, each year’s festival has focused on one particular historical period, with events chosen accordingly. In 1999, Eger was transported to the period of Turkish rule; as part of the festivities, a muezzin chanted Islamic prayer from the top of Eger's one surviving 17th-century minaret. To the strains of Turkish music and the sights of belly dancing, visitors could also experience something of the day-to-day life under Turkish rule – a mercenary parade, bear dancing, fire-eating, juggling, etc. – and sample Turkish delicacies.
The celebration has since been extended to nine days annually. Visitors are eased into the festivities during the first five, with events being held only at certain hours of the day. Tourists are thus given an opportunity to see all the perenniel attractions Eger has to offer, from its famed medicinal baths to its legendary wine cellars, without missing out on any of the proceedings. The last four days follow the traditional morning-to-evening schedule. Many visitors come to the festival once and find themselves returning year after year.
For those wishing to vacation or stay in Eger for a longer period of time, there are of course accommodations available to suit all tastes and allowances. The Frontier Castle Festivities in Eger are waiting eagerly for all those interested in enjoying and taking part in the wide variety of activities and exhibitions we have to offer. Throughout the duration of the festival, the museum exhibits of course remain open from 9:00 to 21:00, except on Mondays.