In Hungarian/ Magyarul – Egy Utazásmániás Tyuk naplója – Kell még tovább győzködni, hogy meglátogassák Pécset?
I have been an official Tour Guide in Hungary since 2006 and I haven’t been to Pécs yet. I don’t live in Hungary anymore and when I come to Budapest I usually stay there. Now it is spring, the weather is amazingly nice so I decided to discover the country during my holiday until I start to work in Bulgaria in June.
Why to go to Pécs?
Zsolnay ceramics, 400-year-old Turkish architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2000-year-old Roman ruins, the largest Early Christian Necropolis outside Italy, 2010 European Capital of Culture, University Town
How to get to Pécs from Budapest?
Pécs is in Transdanubia, South of Budapest in Hungary. You can go there from Budapest by train (ELVIRA – MÁV – about direct 9 trains per day, 3 hours), by bus (Volánbusz – about 9 busses per day, 5,5 hours) and of course by car (~208 km, 2 hours).
I went by train, all trains leave from the Southern Railway Station (Déli Pályaudvar). I was in Pécs by 9.00 a.m. so I could start discovering the city early.
What to see in Pécs?
First I visited the Synagogue. It is a relatively small one, inside it is not as beautiful as the Synagogue in Budapest (of course not, the one in Budapest is the second biggest in the World). There is an entrance fee, you can see the Synagogue inside then go up to see a small exhibition of the Life of the Jewish community in Pecs, including the holocaust too. The exhibiton is very well designed, you can see that they worked a lot on it.
The Szechenyi Square is the main Square, where the most important sights can be found: the Zsolnay Fountain, the Holy Trinity Statue, the Mosque of Pasha Qasim, the City Hall, the County Hall, the Nádor Hotel and the Statue of Janos Hunyadi.
The Zsolnay Fountain is amazing, it is one of the symbols of Pecs, the Zsolnay porcelains are World famous, it is a Hungaricum (like Herendi, Paprika…etc). This Secession style fountain was built in 1930. The ox heads are made of pyrogranite and the decorations are yellowish-green eosin.
If you are interested in Applied Arts, there is the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter not far from the center. The Zsolnay factory was established in Pécsin the 19th century by Miklós Zsolnay. You can go there on foot / by small trains. http://www.zsolnaynegyed.hu/ I didn’t visit it but I heard it is beautiful, you can find there a lot of Museums, Galleries, Concert Hall.
There are many mosques, tombs from the Turkish Era, the most famous is the Mosque of Pesha Quasim. The largest building from the time of the Turkish occupation in Hungary. The Turkish Occupation took 150 years from 1541, from the fall of Buda Castle.
In Budapest you can find a lot of Turkish Baths/ Mosques too like the Rudas Bath.
It is a combination of the Turkish islam and Christian religion, outside and inside too, but it functions as a Catholic Church now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Pasha_Qasim
Along the Jannus Pannonius Street you find houndreds of padlocks, what lovers put here.
Passing by the Csontvary Museum (he was a famous painter) you will find near the MOST IMPORTANT SIGHT of Pecs, the 1600-year-old Early Christian Necropolis.
Pécs was inhabited during the Roman times, the Romans called it SOPHIANAE. There are burial chambers from this time, part of them are decorated with pictures of biblical scenes and Early Christian symbols. It is a World Heritage site since 2000.
There is the Cella Septichora which is the more famous and there is the Mausoleum, which – I read – is a hidden treasure. I visited the Cella Septichora, the paintings are really great, just to know you have to climb a lot of stairs. Part of it is accessible with wheelchair but not the Whole (as far as I saw it). http://www.pecsorokseg.hu/index.php?nyelv=english
Going further you reach at the end of the street the Cathedral, which was built in the 19th century on ruins from the Middle Ages. Really imposing and the Square is full of beautiful buildings too.
There is an interesting statue, the Statue of the composer Ferenc Liszt looking at the Cathedral from a balcony.
The last thing I saw was the Jakovali Hassan Mosque, another Turkish monument. This is the only one that remained intact in Hungary together with its minaret.
The Ferencesek Street, the Apaca Street, the Jannus Pannonius Street and the Kaptalan Street are full of nicely renovated buildings. If you have time, take a walk there too.
Very short History of Pécs
Inhabited since Stone Age; 400 years long Roman territory – Sophianae (2. century BC); Christianity from 4. Century; city destroyed; 1009. Saint Stephan founded the Diocese of Pécs; 1367. first University, King Matthias – 15. century – Renaissance flourish; 16. century Turks – mosques, baths, gardens; end of 17. century Turks leave the city, destruction, 80% of the inhabitants killed, German settlers; 19. century coal mine, theatre, Zsolnay, train connection with Budapest; from the 20. century – important educational ~ (high schools, universities), & cultural center (festivals, museums).
What I didn’t visit but if you have time you can:
- Csontvary Museum – 19th-century symbolist painter http://www.museum.hu/muzeum/140/Janus_Pannonius_Muzeum_-_Csontvary_Muzeum
- Vasarely Museum – abstract painter http://www.pecsimuzeumok.hu/index.php?m=1&s=2&id=96
- Zsolnay Museum – http://www.iranypecs.hu/en/info/attractions/zsolnay-tradition/zsolnay-museum.html
- TV tower – 200m-tall there is a nice view over Pécs from here.
Where to get information about Pécs before your visit?
These websites I have found really useful:
- Pécs Tourism Webpage – official website of the City, sights, programs, restaurants….
- Pécs Útisúgó – only in Hungarian
- Tripadvisor – Things to do, Resturants, Hotels…etc
- Wikipedia Pécs – History of Pécs, I will not copy paste…
I really enjoyed this visit, I wish I went there even earlier to see the beauty of Pécs.
I hope you enjoy my pictures and you could find some useful information here about Pécs.