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Coat of arms
Pécs is located in Hungary
Location of Pécs
Coordinates: 46°04′17″N 18°13′59″E / 46.07125°N 18.23311°E / 46.07125; 18.23311
Country  Hungary
County Baranya
 - Total 162.61 km2 (62.8 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 - Total 156,974
 Density 963.43/km2 (2,495.3/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 7600
Area code(s) 72
Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Remnants of a Paleochristian Church, 4th century AD.
State Party  Hungary
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Reference 853
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2000  (24th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Pécs (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈpeːtʃ]  ( listen); known by alternative names) is the fifth largest city of Hungary, located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains in the south-west of the country, close to its border with Croatia. It is the administrative and economical centre of Baranya county. Pécs is also the seat of Roman Catholic Diocese of Pécs.

Pécs has been selected to be the European Capital of Culture in 2010 sharing the title together with Essen and Istanbul. The city's motto is: "The Borderless City".



The earliest name for the territory was its Roman name of Sopianæ. The name possibly comes from the plural of the Celtic sop meaning “marsh”. Contrary to the popular belief, the name did not signify a single city[citation needed] (Sopianae: plural), and there are no traces of an encircling wall from the early Roman era, only from the 4th century.

The medieval city was first mentioned in 871 under the name Quinque Basilicae ("five cathedrals".) The name refers to the fact that when constructing the churches of the city, the builders used material from five old Christian chapels. In later Latin documents the city was mentioned as Quinque Ecclesiae ("five churches", a name identical in meaning to the German name Fünfkirchen.)

The name Pécs appears in documents in 1235 in the word Pechyut (with modern spelling: pécsi út, means "road to/from Pécs"). The name Pécs is of Slavic origin and means phonetically "furnace" in the Slavic languages (there is a town in Kosovo with similar name – Peć). In other languages: in Latin Quinque Ecclesiae, in Croatian Pečuh, in Serbian Печуј / Pečuj, in German Fünfkirchen.

In Turkish "beş" (pronounced [bɛʃ]) means 5. The name is first recorded after the Mongol invasion of Europe.


The Ancient Roman and early medieval city

Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)

The area has been inhabited since ancient times, with the oldest archaeological findings being 6000 years old. Before the Roman era the place was inhabited by Celts. When Western Hungary was a province of the Roman Empire (named Pannonia), the Romans founded several wine-producing colonies under the collective name of Sopianae where Pécs now stands, in the early 2nd century.

The centre of Sopianae was where the Postal Palace now stands. Some parts of the Roman aqueduct are still visible. When Pannonia province was divided into four administrative divisions, Sopianae was the capital of the division named Valeria.

In the first half of the 4th century Sopianae became an important Christian city. The first Christian cemeteries, dating back to this age, are inscribed on the World Heritage List.

By the end of the century Roman rule weakened in the area, mostly due to attacks by Barbarians and Huns. When Charlemagne arrived in the area, it was ruled by Avars and Slavs. Charlemagne, after conquering the area, annexed it to the Holy Roman Empire. It belonged to the Diocese of Salzburg.

A document written in Salzburg in 871 is the first document mentioning the early medieval city under the name Quinque Basilicae (see above). During the 800s it was occupied primarily by Slavic people and was within the territory of the Slavic Blatnohrad (Zalavar) principality. In the late 800s, this territory was part of Great Moravia.

The Hungarian city in the Middle Ages

The Barbakán
The Cathedral and the Citywall from the Middle Ages

After the Hungarians conquered the area of modern-day Hungary in the (late 9th–early 10th century) and founded the comitatus Baranya, the capital of the comitatus was not Pécs but a nearby castle, Baranyavár ("Baranya Castle".) Pécs, however, became an important religious centre and episcopal seat. In Latin documents the city was mentioned as Quinque Ecclesiae.

In 1064 when King Solomon made peace with his cousin, the later King Géza I, they celebrated Easter in Pécs. Shortly after the cathedral burnt down. The cathedral that stands today was built after this, in the 11th century.

Several religious orders settled down in Pécs. The Benedictine order was the first in 1076. In 1181 there was already a hospital in the city. The first Dominican monastery of the country was built in Pécs in 1238.

King Louis the Great founded a university in Pécs in 1367 following the advice of William, the bishop of Pécs, who was also the king's chancellor. It was the first university in Hungary. The founding document is almost word for word identical with that of the University of Vienna, stating that the university has the right to teach all arts and sciences, with the exception of theology.

In 1459 Janus Pannonius, the most important medieval poet of Hungary became the bishop of Pécs. He strengthened the cultural importance of Pécs.

Pécs under Ottoman rule

The mosque of Gázi Kászim pasa (pasha Qasim the Victorious)

After the Battle of Mohács (1526) in which the invading Ottoman army defeated the armies of King Louis II, the armies of Suleiman occupied Pécs. Not only was a large part of the country occupied by Ottomans, the public opinion of who should be the king of Hungary was divided, too. One party supported Ferdinand of Habsburg, the other party crowned John Zápolya in Székesfehérvár. The citizens of Pécs supported Emperor Ferdinand, but the rest of Baranya county supported King John. In the summer of 1527 Ferdinand defeated the armies of Szapolyai and was crowned king on November 3. Ferdinand favoured the city because of their support, and exempted Pécs from paying taxes. Pécs was rebuilt and fortified.

In 1529 the Ottomans captured Pécs again, and went on a campaign against Vienna. The Ottomans made Pécs to accept King John (who was allied with them) as their ruler. John died in 1540. In 1541 the Ottomans occupied the castle of Buda, and ordered Isabella, the widow of John to give Pécs to them, since the city was of strategic importance. The citizens of Pécs defended the city against the Ottomans, and swore loyalty to Ferdinand. The emperor helped the city and defended it from further Ottoman attacks, but his advisers persuaded him into focusing more on the cities of Székesfehérvár and Esztergom instead of Pécs. Pécs was preparing for the siege, but a day before, Flemish and Walloon mercenaries fled from the city, and raided the nearby lands. The next day in June 1543 the Bishop himself went to the Ottomans with the keys of the city.

Minaret in the Jakovali Hassan mosque

After occupying the city the Ottomans fortified it and turned it into a real Ottoman city. The Christian churches were turned into mosques; Turkish baths and minarets were built, Quran schools were founded, there was a bazaar in place of the market. The city was ruled by Muslim officials according to the Sharia law[citation needed]. For a hundred years the city was an island of peace in a land of war. She was a sanjak centre in Budin Eyalet at first and Kanije Eyalet later as "Peçuy".

In 1664 Croat nobleman Nicholas Zrínyi arrived in Pécs, with his army. Since the city was well into the Ottoman territories, they knew that even if the occupy it, they couldn't keep it for long, so they planned only to pillage it. They ravaged and burned the city but couldn't occupy the castle. Mediaeval Pécs was destroyed forever, except the wall encircling the historical city, a single bastion(Barbakán), the network of tunnels and catacombs beneath the city, parts of which are closed down, other parts are in possession of the famous Litke champagne factory, and can be visited today.[citation needed] Several Turkish artifacts also survived, namely three mosques, two minarets, remnants of a bath over the ancient Christian tombs near the cathedral, and several houses, one even with a stone cannonball embedded in the wall.

After the castle of Buda was wrested from Ottoman rule in 1686, the armies went to capture the rest of Pécs. The advance guards could break into the city and pillaged it. The Ottomans saw that they could not hold the city, and burnt it, and withdrew into the castle. The army led by Louis of Baden occupied the city on October 14, and destroyed the aqueduct leading to the castle. The Ottomans had no other choice but to surrender, which they did on October 22.

The city was under martial law under the command of Karl von Thüngen. The Viennese court wanted to destroy the city first, but later they decided to keep it to counterbalance the importance of Szigetvár, which was still under Ottoman rule. Slowly the city started to prosper again, but in the 1690s two plague epidemics claimed many lives. In 1688 German settlers arrived. Only about one quarter of the city's population was Hungarian, the others were Germans or Southern Slavs. According to 1698 data, South Slavs comprised more than a half of the population of the town. Because Hungarians were only a minority of the population, Pécs didn't support the revolution against Habsburg rule led by Francis II Rákóczi, and his armies pillaged the city in 1704.

Pécs in modern times

Pécs Main Square
County Hall
Széchenyi Square

A more peaceful era started after 1710. Industry, trade and viticulture prospered, manufactures were founded, a new city hall was built. The feudal lord of the city was the Bishop of Pécs, but the city wanted to free itself from episcopal control. Bishop George Klimó, an enlightened man (who founded the first public library of the country) would have agreed to cede his rights to the city, but the Holy See forbade him to do so. When Klimó died in 1777, Queen Maria Theresa quickly elevated Pécs to free royal town status before the new bishop was elected. This cost the city 83,315 forints.

According to the first census (held in 1787 by the order of Joseph II) there were 1474 houses and 1834 families in Pécs, a total of 8853 residents, of which 133 were priests and 117 were noblemen.

In 1785 the Academy of Győr was moved to Pécs. This academy eventually evolved into a law school. The first stonework theatre of the city was built in 1839.

The industry developed a lot in the second half of the 19th century. By 1848 there were 1739 industrial workers. Some of the manufactures were nationally famous. The iron and paper factories were among the most modern ones of the age. Coal mining was relevant. A sugar factory and beer manufactures were built, too. The city had 14,616 residents.

During the revolution in 1848–49 Pécs was occupied by Croatian armies for a short time, but it was freed from them by Habsburg armies in January 1849.

After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 Pécs developed, like all the other cities and towns of the country. From 1867 Pécs is connected to the nearby town Barcs by railway, and since 1882 it is also connected to Budapest. In 1913 a tram system has been founded, but it was extinguished in 1960.

At the end of World War I Baranya county was occupied by Serbian troops, and it was not until August 1921 that Pécs could be sure that it remains part of Hungary. The University of Pressburg (modern-day Bratislava, Slovakia) was moved to Pécs after Hungary lost Pressburg according to the Treaty of Trianon.

During World War II Pécs suffered only minor damages, even though a large tank-battle took place 20–25 km south of the city, close to the Villány area late in the war, when the advancing Red Army fought its way towards Austria.

After the war development became fast again, and the city grew, absorbing several nearby towns. In the 1980s Pécs already had 180,000 inhabitants.

After the end of Socialist era (1989–1990) Pécs and its county, like many other areas, were hit hard by the changes, the unemployment rate was high, the mines and several factories were closed, and the war in neighboring Yugoslavia in the 1990s affected the tourism.

Pécs was also the centre of the Nordic Support Group (NSG) consisting of units from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Poland, as part of the IFOR and later SFOR NATO deployments, after the Dayton Agreement and following peace in former Yugoslavia; the first units were deployed to Pécs in late 1995 and early 1996. The NSG handled the relaying of supply, personnel and other logistical tasks between the participating countries and their deployed forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Main sights

Cella Septichora
The Barbakán
Zsolnay Porcelain Museum. The House from the 13th Century.
Hungarian National Theatre in Pécs.
Csontváry Museum
  • A good example of the city’s history and interesting past can be seen in the main square, where the Gazi Kasim Mosque still stands, and, although consecrated as a church following the retreat of the Ottoman Turks centuries ago, the crescent moon and cross of Islam are still visible on the cupola. Indeed, Pécs is the richest town in Hungary in terms of Turkish architecture, with the ruins of Memi Pasa’s Baths and the mausoleum of miracle worker Idris Baba, just two other notable remains.

Necropolis of Sopianae (UNESCO World Heritage Site)


Ethnic groups

Population by nationalities (2001 census):


Population by denominations (2001 census):


Located in the midst of an agricultural area, Pécs is the natural hub of local products. Until some years ago, it had a coal mine and even a Uranium mine. Several factories exist, but since the fall of the Iron Curtain those have mostly not managed the transition. It does have a quite famous porcelain factory. The Zsolnay Porcelain has a special greenish colour — called "eozin". One of the walls of a local McDonald's franchise (the one on the Main Square) is decorated with Zsolnay Porcelain tiles. The Pécsi Sörfőzde (Pécs Brewery) is one of the four main Hungarian breweries, and produces a special beer, which is not strained before bottling, and can only be bought in a single restaurant in the entire country, the Cellárium. This brew is highly sought after.


The University of Pécs was founded by Louis I of Hungary in 1367. It is the oldest university in Hungary, and is among the first European universities. It was divided into two universities, one for Medicine and Orthodontics (POTE) ([1]) and one larger one for other studies — this being the JPTE (Janus Pannonius Tudományegyetem). The POTE (Pécs University Medical School, now known as the Medical Faculty) has a large English program for general medicine and dentistry (with students from America, Asia, and European countries - including many Scandinavians) and a new German program. On January 1, 2000 these universities were combined under the common name and acronym, PTE (Pécsi Tudományegyetem - The University of Pécs).


  • There are several daily trains connecting Pécs to the capital Budapest as well as a daily direct train to Vienna and direct train to Osijek and Sarajevo.
  • The M6 motorway is currently under construction, connecting Pécs and Budapest that will significantly reduce the driving time between the two cities taking about 2 1/2 hours now. The planned date of delivery to the public for the entire route is 31 March 2010.
  • A new airport opened in Pécs Pécs-Pogány Airport in March 2006.

Famous people born in Pécs

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Pécs is twinned with:


The city also has an informal friendship link with Peterborough, England.


See also



External links

Coordinates: 46°04′16″N 18°13′59″E / 46.07111°N 18.23306°E / 46.07111; 18.23306

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Hassan Jakovali's mosque in Pecs
Hassan Jakovali's mosque in Pecs
For the city in Kosovo, see Peć.

Pécs (PEH-ch) [1] is a town in the south-west of Hungary.


Founded as Sopianae 2000 years ago by the Romans and known as Fünfkirchen by the Germans, today's Pécs is a pleasant small (but still one of the largest in Hungary) university town that has largely escaped the ravages of both communist-era architecture and modern-day mass tourism. In 2000, the Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is going to be a European Capital of Culture in 2010.

Get in

By train

There are frequent trains to Pécs from Budapest's Déli or Keleti station - see Hungarian Railway Timetable [2]. The trip can be as fast as 2:40 on an express, but several hours longer by local clunker.

There is also a daily, daylight-hours train to/from Osijek in Croatia and Sarajevo in Bosnia (up until late 2006, this ran as an overnight service in both directions), and a daily train to the city from Vienna.

By bus

Numerous buses from all directions (including from cities in northern Croatia) serve the city. Buses to Budapest's Nepliget station operate numerous times daily, though the trip is slower than the train, and far less scenic or comfortable.

By plane

Pecs Airport opened in 2006 and currently there are year-round flights to Corfu in Greece. There are no timetabled, domestic flights operating in Hungary at present.

Get around

The core of Pécs is small enough to cover on foot, but for those who wish to explore the town, there is a cheap and efficient bus service, single tickets are available for 300 HUF from the driver or 220 HUF from the many kiosks dotted around the city. Make sure you have tickets, the bus inspectors have no mercy and will fine clueless foreigners.

To visit the impressive communist era TV tower catch the (infrequent) number 35 or 35A to Misina (the last stop), from the Train Station or Kórház Tér (Hospital Square).

Volan Taxi and Euro Taxi are both safe.

Inside the Catholic Church on the main square (once Gazi Kasim Pasha's mosque)
Inside the Catholic Church on the main square (once Gazi Kasim Pasha's mosque)
  • Early Christian monuments A must for anyone visiting Pecs is the 4th c. early Christian necropolis. Several of the excavated, underground burial chambers and chapels have been connected to make it a complex under the name Cella Septichora [3]. (Cella Septichora being the largest of them.) Several of the burial chambers are painted, including the St. Peter and St. Paul Chamber with one of the earliest depictions of Virgin Mary.
  • Mosque Church. Széchenyi tér. Formerly the Pasha Gazi Kassim Mosque, this Ottoman-era mosque was converted into a Catholic church by the simple expedient of hanging a crucified Jesus above the mihrab (the prayer niche pointing to Mecca). Even the original Arabic inscriptions inside the niche remain intact.
  • The Cathedral (Székesegyház). The most important, largest and beautiful religious building in the area.
  • Television tower. Open for visitors; provides a nice panorama on the city, on the neighbouring Mecsek Mountains, and on the hills in the south.
  • Vasarely Museum, dedicated to the works of Victor Vasarely, founder of op-art.
  • Csontváry Museum, a museum featuring the paintings of Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka, a visionary painter from the early 20th century.


Pécs' most famous local product is Zsolnay porcelain, covered with a distinctive green-gold glaze known as eosin. There's a Hungarian fashion label's ( shop in the "Irgalmasok Utcája". For everyone, who loves the fashion line "Oldschool".


Király utca is packed with restaurants and cafes, many with attractive outdoor terraces in summer.

  • Enoteca Corso, next to the National Theatre, rated Hungary's 4th best in the 2009 Restaurants and Wine Guide, and also placed in the top ten of the Hungarian Dining Guide. Enoteca is divided into a fine dining section with an emphasis on nouvelle cuisine, and a bistro where simpler dishes based on more traditional Hungarian recipes are available at more modest prices. Around noon, there is a daily menu, but snacks are also served in the morning and until midnight.
  • Kalamáris ("Inkwell"), traditional dishes in a lighter interpretation. Found near the Zsolnay Monument on Rákóczi Str.
  • Arizona Restaurant. Serves the best beef steak in town.
  • Caesar Pince, next to the cathedral. This special restaurant with a more exclusive atmosphere is situated in the same building as the Pannonia Champagne Factory, and shows you the beauty of the old Roman cellars.
  • Replay Café. A wide variety of small dishes.
  • Semiramis. Cafe with a good selection of arabica coffee, chocolates and assorted sweets.
  • Tettye. Located on the Tettye hill, known for Danubian Schwabic dishes. Portions often overgenerous. Reservation recommended in the summer.


Even in a country of oenophiles, Pécs is known for its sparkling wines.

  • Pannonia Champagne Factory (Pannonia pezsgőgyár). Hungary's first champagne factory, founded in 1859 by Lorinc Littke and still producing sparkling wine under the Pannonia label. The facility is a tourist attraction, with a 5-story underground labyrinth of caves and cellars.


Private rooms and apartments are widely available. There's also a number of small hotels in the centre. Enquire at the tourist office.

During the summer months some student dormitories open for foreign visitors, this is the cheapest accommodation (~3000Huf per night). There is one realy cheap and nice hostel in Pécs, see below.

  • Boszorkany Hostel [4] The recently renovated Boszorkany Hostel provides cheap and convenient accommodation for those who are visiting the City of Pécs in July and August. The Hostel is located at the foot of Mecsek Hill and it takes a 10 minute walk to get to the city center, but you can get there by taking bus no. 30, no. 32 and no. 37 which ones leave from the local railway station. It is the cheapest and tidiest hostel to be found in town. (3000 HUF/bed/night) Every two double rooms share a bathroom, a toilet and a fridge. As an extra, every room has broadband internet access for free: 100Mbit/sec! You can park your car here for free, too - just a few minutes far from the center.
  • Nap Hostel Pecs [5] is in the main pedestrian street of the historic city centre.The hostel can be found in a building of eclectic architecture built in 1885. The rooms are spacious and colourful, the bathrooms are modern and there is a fully equipped kitchen for you to use. From the balcony, you can have a beautiful panoramic view of the whole city and of the Mecsek Mountains.
  • Hotel Főnix [6]. In the historical center of Pécs (20 meters from Széchenyi Square). Ideal for families and for business travelers as well.
  • Makártanya Sportcenter, [7]. Most of the rooms can have spare beds so the biggest capacity reaches 100. All the rooms are at high standard, equipped with modern furniture, bathroom, air-conditioning, minibar, cable television and telephone.
  • HUNGUEST Hotel Kikelet [8]. The hotel is located at one of the most scenic spots of the Mecsek Mountains, directly above the downtown of Pécs. The hotel offers a unique view onto the town and the neighbouring hills.
  • Hotel Rácz [9] is in the Historian City in the neighborhood of the Castlewall. Just a few minutes from the city, along the road #6 and it is also easy to access with public transport.
  • Hotel Fenyves Panoráma [10] is a family atmospheric hotel, which is on the hillsides of Mecsek by the pine forest, right above the centre of the town.
  • Berg Toboz Pension [11] is situated in a quiet calm and decent place in the greenbelt out off the downtown on the hill.
  • Delanta Pension [12] can be found in the east quarter of Pécs, at the crossroads of Budapest-Komló. The pension has 14 rooms, a smaller and a bigger family-appartement, and a closed parking possibility.
  • Hotel Laterum *** [13] is in western part of Pecs. As Southern Hungary's scientific and economic center Pecs is a frequent host of domestic and international gatherings and symposia. Hotel Laterum has been a provider of youth- and group tourism for over 15 years, while also serving as a meeting place for both international and domestic conferences, various events, weddings.

Get out

In the early evening students gather at Replay Café, Apollo or Los Bongos in the city center. For late night clubbing you should ask the taxi drivers at Széchenyi Tér where to go. No one are more updated than them about nightlife in Pécs. An other cool place is the Hard Rák Café (spelling: like Hard Rock Café).

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also pecs



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun


  1. The fifth largest city of Hungary.




Hungarian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia hu


Proper noun


  1. The fifth largest city of Hungary.

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