Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Eger Day 2 - Touring the City

On Friday, we had the opportunity to tour Eszterházy Károly College and the city of Eger. My favorite part of the tour of  Eszterházy Károly College was seeing the Camera Obscura.  At the very top of the college, there is a small dome with a room on the inside.  This room is completely black  with a large white table in the center. Using mirrors and natural light, the camera obscura reflects a view of the area outside onto the table.  The camera obscura was built by the Hungarian astronomer Maximillian Hell in the late 18th century.  Here is diagram of how it works.

When the image appears on the table, it is basically like watching live video footage. Our tour guide explained that the camera obscura was built for fun.  I can imagine that it was incredibly fun in the 18th century because we enjoyed it as well.  The camera can be pointed all around the city.  We watched people walking down the sidewalk and cars driving down the street. It was hilarious! Unfortunately this photo doesn't do it justice.

After our tour of the college, we went to the fortress of Eger and the Basilika.  We learned about the history of Eger and the significance of István Dobó.  In 1552, the Turks attacked Eger and István Dobó led the successful defense.  The book "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" is an important novel by Géza Gárdonyi which chronicles this event.

Our final event of the day was a wine tasting at Sike Winery in the Valley of the Beautiful Women. Since I'm not a wine drinker, it was interesting to learn so much about wine.  We learned how to properly hold, swirl, smell, and taste the wine.  We tasted five types of wine, including Bikavér ("Bull's Blood").  The name of this wine is connected to István Dobó.  Here is the story we were told.  When the Turks were unable to defeat the Hungarians in Eger, even though they outnumbered them 40 to 1, they were astonished.  They saw István Dobó standing on the walls of the fortress. He was drinking heartily with red liquid flowing down his beard.  Although he was actually drinking wine, the Turks assumed he must be drinking something powerful to give him strength...the blood of a bull. This story led to the development of the name Bikavér.

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