1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eperjes
EPERJES, a town of Hungary, capital of the county of Sáros, 190 m. N.E. of Budapest by rail. Pop. (1900) 13,098. It is situated on the left bank of the river Tarcza, an affluent of the Theiss, and has been almost completely rebuilt since a great fire in 1887. Eperjes is one of the oldest towns of Hungary, and is still partly surrounded by its old walls. It is the seat of a Greek-Catholic bishop, and possesses a beautiful cathedral built in the 18th century in late Gothic style. It possesses manufactures of cloth, table-linen and earthenware, and has an active trade in wine, linen, cattle and grain. About 2 m. to the south is Sóvár with important salt-works.
In the same county, 28 m. by rail N. of Eperjes, is situated the old town of Bártfa (pop. 6098), which possesses a Gothic church from the 14th century, and an interesting town-hall, dating from the 15th century, and containing very valuable archives. In its neighbourhood, surrounded by pine forests, are the baths of Bártfa, with twelve mineral springs—iodate, ferruginous and alkaline—used for bathing and drinking.
About 6 m. N.W. of Eperjes is situated the village of Vörösvágás, which contains the only opal mine in Europe. The opal was mined here 800 years ago, and the largest piece hitherto found, weighing 2940 carats and estimated to have a value of £175,000, is preserved in the Court Museum at Vienna.
Eperjes was founded about the middle of the 12th century by a German colony, and was elevated to the rank of a royal free town in 1347 by Louis I. (the Great). It was afterwards fortified and received special privileges. The Reformation found many early adherents here, and the town played an important part during the religious wars of the 17th century. It became famous by the so-called “butchery of Eperjes,” a tribunal instituted by the Austrian general Caraffa in 1687, which condemned to death and confiscated the property of a great number of citizens accused of Protestantism. During the 16th and the 17th centuries its German educational establishments enjoyed a wide reputation.