It is true that, despite being built as a university, the high school in Eger (Hungary) never received this status, despite the majestic building in which it is located.
Eger High School and, in the background, egers castle.
The ambitions of the bishops of Eger stretched to unsuspected limits. And after the city was restored after 91 years of Turkish rule, in the middle of the 18th century, Eger’s lycée became an important educational center.
Here opened a Jesuit college second grade, a seminar (since 1705), a law School (from 1740) and a episcopal press (since 1754). And the next step was obvious: the building must have looked great.
Eger High School, Hungary.
Joseph Gerla respected Viennese architect, was hired to give the original high school building. However, he was not the only one.
The bishop of that time, known as Eszterhazy Karoly and great person in charge of the financing of the project, he was involved in different conflicts both with Josef Gerl and with two other architects. As a consequence, until three architects were working at the same time on the high school building.
The result was a peculiar mix of baroque, rococo and Louis XVI style.
Inside the high school.
Eszterházy intended to open a university in his building, but it soon became apparent that Vienna would be unlikely to allow him to do so. Despite this, the work continued.
The first medical school in Hungary was opened in the buildingand the hope of one day founding a university did not die completely either.
On the ground floor three rooms were built: a chapel, an examination room and a library. The three rooms are worth a visit today, at least for the beautiful ceiling paintings and excellent furnishings.
Exhibition inside the school.
A majestic tower was added to the observatory buildingwhere today you can see the original astronomical instruments managers for what never became a university.
In the astronomical tower of the Eger high school you can see one of the only three existing camera obscuras in the worldcreated in 1776.
Camera Obscura of the Eger High School.
In 1777 Eszterházy’s dream was finally buried with the passing of the education law, which stated that there should be only one university in Hungary… and it would be in Budapest.
The reasons for this were partly political: Empress Maria Theresa and Joseph II wanted the education system to be closely connected to the state, and the University of Eger would not be subordinate to the state, but to the bishop.
Solar clock in the Astronomical Museum of the Eger high school.
Today, the so-called “eszterhazy school» is located in the high school. It is still an educational institution and a fine example of Louis XVI style architecture that continues to inspire students and tourists alike. On the first floor there is a library, the fund of which contains more than 60,000 volumes, including priceless manuscripts.
For its part, the Museum of Astronomy is open in the west wing, with an observatory and planetarium; and going up three floors, you can reach the Magic Tower, an impressive observation deck that offers the best views of the city of Eger.