County and episcopal seat at the southern foot of the Mecsek Mountains. With 162,000 inhabitants, it is the fifth greatest town in Hungary. Founded by the Romans in the 2nd century, under the name Sopianae, it flourished as the capital of the province in the 4th century. Early Christianity is recalled by the 4th century building of an early Christian mausoleum, a unique sight of the city.
In 1009 an episcopate was established here by the founder of Hungary, King Saint Stephen (Szent Istvan). The Romanesque cathedral was rebuilt several times.
The first university in this country was founded here in 1367 by King Lewis the Great (Nagy Lajos). The medieval city flourished in the second part of the 15th century, when Bishop Janus Pannonius, the greatest poet of Hungarian humanism, lived. The vestiges of the Turkish occupation in the 16-17th centuries can still be seen in several places in the city.
In the Baroque period Bishop Klimo’s activity was outstanding, the first public library in Hungary was founded by him.
In 1780, Pecs was granted rights of a royal free borough, eliciting the achievement of middle-class status for many with economic and industrial development. Many of the factories founded in the 1850s and 1860s (e.g.: Zsolnay ceramics, Angster organs ) have soon become well known in Hungary and have been acknowledged ever since. The first Angster organ can be seen in the Synagogue built in 1869.
Civic dwelling-houses and public edifices were erected: University Library, National Theatre of Pecs, Elephant-house. The uniformity of the townscape in the Main Square called Szechenyi Square dates back to this period.
Works of art of the 20th century masters are exhibited in exuberant collections: Csontvary Museum and the series of exhibitions in Kaptalan Street (Vasarely Museum, the Amergo Tot Collection) are a great experience. Near the Basilica, the statues of the 13 martyrs of Arad in one place offer a singular sight in Hungary.
Sopianae, as it was called in roman times, was founded in the 2nd century. It was an important centre of early Christianty. The necropolis consisting of 16 buildings is a unique architectural ensemble of the 4th century, and the UNESCO recognized its special value by making it part of the World Heritage in 2000. Our most significant old Christian memorial is the two-tiered ancient Christian Mausoleum, where wall paintings and the remnants of three sarcophagi have been found in the sepulchre. The burial vault of jars can be approached from Dom Square. Address: Szent Istvan Square Tel: 06 72 / 312-719 Open: Tue.-Sat.: 10am - 4pm
A Christian church stood on the site of the cathedral. Later on it was expanded and a sanctuary was added to the church. The towers were erected in the 11th century. The church has been often rebuilt because of the damages caused by many fires. In the 14th century two side chapels were built, the Chapel of Blessed Virgin, and the Chapel of Corpus Christi. In the 14th and 16th century, valuable frescos were painted in the Cathedral. The Cathedral was ranked as a ‘basilica minor’ in 1993, when Pope John Paul II visited Hungary. Address: Dom Square
The Franciscan Order was present in Pecs as early as in the 13th century. Their church and monastery was rebuilt by the Turks, and became the mosque, college and bath of Pasha Memi. After the Turkish occupation the Franciscan Order took back the possession of the property.
Mosque of Pasha Yakovali Hassan
The Mosque of Pasha Yakovali Hassan is the best preserved masterpiece of Muslim architecture in Hungary. Next to it is the 23-meter high minaret. It became an important place of pilgrimage and a centre of Islamic religion in Hungary. After the Turkish occupation only the inside of the building was transformed into a catholic house of prayer, outside it remained as it was. Address: 2. Rakoczi Street
Domed baths were essential parts of the Turkish townscape. They not only provided a place for people to bathe, but also a place for social meetings. The famous Turkish traveller Evlia Cselebi mentions three baths in Pécs in the second half of the 18th century: the baths of Pasha Memi, Pasha Ferhad and Pasha Quassim. The Bath of Pasha Ferhad was soon destroyed, only its foundation walls could be traced. The Bath of Pasha Memi was pulled down in the 1880s, but in 1963 it was restored.
Turbe of Idriss Baba
In a picturesque setting, stands the tomb of Idriss Baba. According to the controversial sources, Idriss was either a physician or a fortune teller. But he certainly lived in Pecs in the second half of the 16th century, and probably came to the country with the Turkish occupiers or with the first Turkish settlers. After his death local people regarded him as a saint and his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. Address: 8. Nyar Street on Rokus Hill
Mosque of Pasha Ghazi Quassim
The green dome of the Mosque of Pasha Ghazi Quassim on the main square of the town is the greatest work of Muslim architecture in Hungary. Today it is a Catholic church, although still displaying the ‘mihrab’ niche and the double arched ogee of the windows.
The Synagogue was built in romantic style between 1865 and 1869, according to the plans of Frigyes Feszl, Karoly Gerster and Lipót Kauser. Its organ was made in the famous Angster factory in Pecs. The writing around the clock says: ‘May all the people call this place a house of prayer".
Influenced by the sub-mediterranean climate, the territory of the Mecsek Mountains is extremely rich in botanical, zoological and geological values. The picturesque arboretum in Pinter Garden contributes to the preservation of these values. Address: 9. Tettye Square Tel: +36 72 / 517-200 Open: May - Sept. 10am - 6pm
Near the neo-Renaissance building of the Bishop's Palace on Dom Square starts the walk to the massive round bastion of the Barbican, built in the 15th century in late Gothic style.
On the Misina mountaintop stands the 175 metre high TV and lookout tower. Looking down from the top, southwards you can see the town of Pécs and the Baranya Hills, further the Villanyi Mountains, eastwards the Zengo, westwards the Tubes, and on the North the Mecsek.
A short part of the town wall can be seen in Klimo Street, where a pleasant promenade has been constructed alongside it.
Aquarium and Terrarium
In Munkacsy Street, in the labyrinth 10 metres under the house where the famous Hungarian painter Mihaly Munkacsy lived, lies the wonderful underground world of exotic reptiles, amphibians and fish. Come and enjoy the 800-square metre large exhibition. Address: 31. Munkacsy Street Open: Winter: every day 9am - 5pm, Summer: every day 9am - 6pm
Built by the voluntary work of the people of Pecs within 45,367 working hours in 1960-1961.' This writing can be read on the wall of the entrance. The Zoo, which is situated in a forest, houses hundreds of species native to Hungary. Besides, exotic animals from other continents can be found here as well. Address: 31. Munkacsy Mihály Street Tel: +36 72 / 532-151 Fax: +36 72 / 213-114 Open: Winter: 9am - 4pm, Summer: 9am - 6pm