Pécs

 

Pécs (German: Fünfkirchen, Croatian: Pečuh, Serbian: Печуј / Pečuj, Middle Ages Latin: Quinque Ecclesiae, Ancient Latin: Sopianae) is a county town in the southwestern part of Hungary, the fifth largest settlement in the country after Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged and Meged. It is the largest settlement in Transdanubia. It is the seat of Baranya county and the district of Pécs, the center of Southern Transdanubia.

In the countryside inhabited by Celtic and Pannonian tribes in the early 2nd century, the Romans founded a city called Sopianae. By the 4th century, the settlement had become a provincial seat and one of the major centers of early Christianity. The early Christian cemetery complex from this period was inscribed on the World Heritage List by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in December 2000.

The diocese was founded in 1009 by King St. Stephen, and the first university in the country was founded in 1367 by King Louis the Great. (Even today, the country's largest university with nearly 34,000 students operates here.) Bishop Janus Pannonius, the great poet of Hungarian humanism and the most prominent representative of Latin-language Hungarian poetry, made medieval Pécs one of the centers of the country's cultural and artistic life.

After 150 years of Turkish occupation - from this period such rich architectural monuments as the mosque of Pasha Gázi Kászim have survived in the main square of the city - in 1780 Pécs received the rank of a free royal city from Queen Maria Theresa. After that, strong civilization and economic development began. Industrialization accelerated significantly in the first half of the 19th century, with Zsolnay pottery, Littke champagne, and Angster organ becoming world famous.

 

Pécs has always been a multi-ethnic settlement, cultural strata have stacked on top of each other, the traditions and values ​​of nationalities have merged during its two-thousand-year history. Hungarians, Croats and Swabians still live in peace with each other in a rich cultural polarity, so it is not surprising that in 2010 the city, together with Essen and Istanbul, became one of the cultural capitals of Europe. The majority of the application, which was accepted in 2005 and declared a winner, was written by civilians, so the Pécs2010 Capital of Culture project was really the program of Pécs. The program was based on 4 cultural investments: the Pécs Conference and Concert Center, the South Transdanubia Regional Library and Knowledge Center, Múzeumok Street and the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter. These were complemented by the revitalization of public spaces and parks, all co-financed by the European Union. The honorable title launched huge developments in the city. New, modern hotels, a mall and office buildings have been built.

In 1998, Pécs won the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize for its nurturing minority cultures and its inclusive, tolerant attitude towards refugees from the South Slavic war. The city was third in 2007 and second in 2008 in the category of settlements between 75,000 and 200,000 in the LivCom Awards international competition.