Pécs is a vibrant university city notable for its multitude of museums and rich art life. In 2010 it was slected as European Capital of Culture. Situated at the foot of Mecsek Hills, close to the border with Croatia, it has a very favorable climate.
Pécs has historically always been a multi-ethnic city, which is why it is often referred to as The Borderless City. The cultural layers of Latin, Turkish, German, Croatian and Hungarian origin left the city a valuable heritage of monuments from different ages and styles.
The area was first occupied by Celts, then it became a part of The Roman Empire. The Magyars settled in Pécs in the 10th century. The city’s importance grew in the Middle Ages. In 1009 St. Stephen founded a bishopric in here and the town was a main stop on the trade route to Byzantium. The first university in Hungary was founded in Pécs in 1367 by Louis I the Great. The Turks, who came in 1543, turned the city into their administrative and cultural centre.
The magnificent Széchenyi Square itself and the elegant buildings surrounding it encompass all that Pécs has to offer: history, culture, architecture and the arts. The square is dominated by the imposing Mosque of Pasha Qasim, the symbol of the city. The original gothic church was converted into a mosque in the 16th century by the occupying Turks. Fragments of Arabic decorations and quotations tions from the Quran are still visible on the walls.Today it functions again as a Catholic church. The peaceful coexistence of cultures is symbolised by the Turkish crescent and the Catholic cross together above the dome. Locals call it the Mosque Church.
The most important remains from Roman times were found in the heart of the city, around the cathedral. The early Christian burial chambers are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The earliest Christian place of worship excavated here is a chapel dating back to about 350. The Roman and early Christian relics and painted crypts are largest and best quality early Christian structures outside Rome.
Near the Roman remains are the ruins of the medieval city wall. The circular Barbican is the only part of the fortification system to survive in Pécs.
Király Street, the city’s most popular pedestrian zone and shopping area, is lined with buildings from the Habsburg era. There is a church and a former monastery of the Pauline order dating back to the 1700s as well as Pécs’s National Theater, a neo-rococo style building built in 1895.
The vine has been grown in the Pécs region since 2000 years. It is known for its white wines, like Cirfandli, Italian Riesling and Chardonnay.