Pecs

Overview

Introduction

If you're able to visit only one city outside Budapest, Pecs is the one you'll want to see. A Turkish atmosphere permeates much of this delightful city—among the reminders of the 1543-1686 Turkish occupation are two former mosques and lots of Ottoman architecture. Pecs also has an engaging 11th-century cathedral, the ruins of a fourth-century Roman cemetery and the Janus Pannonius Museum (archaeological and decorative arts exhibits).

Stroll around the remains of Pecs' medieval walls and then head to the center of town, Szecheny Ter, which is crowned by the larger of the two mosques, now a Catholic church. Take time to visit the many museums—we recommend the Zsolnay porcelain, Csontvary paintings and Vasarely op-art—on the streets between the cathedral and the Big Mosque (as it's known locally).

The Little Mosque is even more impressive than its more sizable sibling. These days, it serves as a museum of the Turkish period in Hungary. Also be sure to take in some of the outrageous local architecture, especially the Romai Udvar on Jokai U—the finest incorporation of a Roman wall into a parking garage you'll see.

In the summer, attend one of the city's many cultural events: open-air dance recitals, plays among the ruins of Tettye, and classical-music concerts in the basilica.

South of Pecs, near Mohacs, is a fascinating park and museum—the Historical Memorial at Mohacs, Statue Park (Tortenelmi Emlekhely, Szoborpark). It commemorates the battlefield where the Turks began their invasion of the country in 1526 and contains marvelously detailed painted wooden statues of the participants (alive, dying and dead), horses, and so on.

About 20 mi/32 km south of Pecs is the noted red-wine region and village of Villany, where a visit to the Bock cellar or Gere and Weninger is worth the excursion.

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