Hotels, history and sights of Pécs, Southern Hungary
Mysterious Roman burial vaults, Turkish mosques, slender minaret, fine Zsolnay ceramics, grandiose Csontváry paintings, decorative Vasarely patterns, almond trees blossoming in early spring, restaurants and cafés with pleasant atmospheres - this is all Pécs, the 2000-year-old city with Mediterranean climate and mood lying at the southern foot of the Mecsek Range.
The road leading to the summit of the hills is bordered by the steep streets and interesting houses of old Pécs, Tettye. There is a beautiful panorama from the 525 m. Misina Peak, and wine sampling from the famous wines of the region can be an excellent evening program for those on an excursion following the marked tourist routes in the Mecsek Park Forest.
On Market Square there is an antique fair on the first Friday of every month, a crafts fair and car auction every Saturday and Sunday, and a livestock fair on Sunday.
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Palatinus is a 3-star hotel situated in the heart of the historic city centre of Pécs, in the pedestrian precinct. Services: 94 double, 7 triple rooms, 6 suites, restaurant.
History and main sights of Pécs
Roman-era Pécs, 'Sopianae', was a significant centre for early Christianity. Excavations have uncovered remarkable finds of international value dating from the 5th century. In the Early Christian Mausoleum (Szent István tér) there is a single nave chapel, painted burial vault and a crypt with wall paintings.
The Roman Burial Chapel (Apáca u. 14.) has three naves, a floor mosaic from the 2nd-4th century, and wall paintings. The Burial Vault (Dom tér) has early Christian wall paintings.
The Basilica on Dom Square is one of the most valuable medieval structures in Hungary: the crypt with five naves is from the 11 th century with statues and frescos by noted Hungarian masters. In its side chapels and sacristy there are valuable art treasures, frescos by Bertalan Székely and Károly Lotz. The Barbican (Esze Tamás u. 2.) is a round stone bastion built in the 16th century with a circle framed gate and loopholes.
Pécs has the most significant surviving Turkish buildings from the 150 years of Ottoman domination. The Pasha Gazi Kassim Mosque (Széchenyi tér) is today a Catholic church with a huge cupola and prayer niches and keel-arch windows. The Mosque of Pasha Yakovali Hassan (Rákoczi u. 2.) is a virtually intact Muslim architectural delight; today it functions as a museum with Turkish historical and art objects. Next door stands the Minaret: 83 steps up a spiral staircase lead to the 23-metre-high balcony. The Tomb of Idris Baba (Nyár u. 8.) is a Turkish place of pilgrimage on Rokus Hill. The Baths of Pasha Memi (Ferencesek u. 35.) is now a baths museum.
Mementos from the Baroque period are also important. The Baroque furnishings of the Franciscan Curch and Monastery (Ferencesek u.) were created by Franciscan monks. The Lyceum Church and former Pauline Monastery (Király u. 44.) is one of the most significant Baroque monuments in the city. All Saints' Church (Tettye u.) and the former Carmelite Monastery next door.
The Havihegy Blessed Virgin Chapel was built by survivors of the great plague in 1691. The interesting feature of the St. Augustus Church (Ágoston tér) is the keel-arch window taken from the Turkish mosque. The Church of the Good Samaritans (Széchenyi tér 5.) has an Eclectic facade and inlaid altars.
One of the specialities of Pécs is the Hungarian Art Nouveau eosin glazed Zsolnay Fountain (Széchenyi tér) in the main square of the town.
From the numerous museums of Pécs, the Neorenaissance Csontvary Museum (Janus Pannonius u. 1.) holds many works by Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka (1853-1919), unique personality of Hungarian painting who combined romanticism, symbolism and expressionism. For example, the famous "Lonely Cedar" work is here.
Almost every house in Káptalan Street is a museum: valuable collections in medieval houses:
Amerigo Tot Museum : the entire lifework of the world-famous Hungarian sculptor (1909-84) in one of the oldest houses in the city.
Zsolnay Ceramics Exhibition: the history and finest pieces of the world-famous Zsolnay porcelain works, the Golden Prize oesin glazed decorative ware from the 1878 Paris World Expo, Zsolnay memorial room.
Renaissance Lapidarium: Renaissance stonework from Pécs and surroundings.
Vasarely Museum: works by Victor Vasarely (1908-97), the world-famous pioneer of op-art and abstract geometry who was born in Pécs, actually in this house.
Modern Hungarian Gallery: works of 19th and 20th century Hungarian fine arts.
Enfre Nemes Museum: 250 abstract and surrealistic works by this 20th century artist (1909-85).
Erzsébet Shaár Museum: the artist's (1908-75) last work, "Street", a group sculpture composition.
Ferenc Martyn Museum: paintings, graphics and statues by the first Hungarian representative of the non-figurative trend.