The City of Pécs
Pécs is the fifth largest city in the country, with 147,719 inhabitants. It is located in the southwest of Hungary, on the Mecsek mountain range, and only approx. 40 km away form the Croatian border. Pécs is one of the most interesting cities in Hungary. Its rich historical background is still easy to spot in the cultural monuments that have been conserved.
This multinational city is the scientific, cultural and economic centre of the southwest of Hungary and the largest trade centre in the region. Many countries have honorary consulates here, for example, Germany and Austria.
The beginnings of Pécs go back to the union of several wine-growing colonies during the Roman times. At that time, the city was known as Sopianae and it was also a Roman administration centre.
2,000 years ago, Pécs was the largest city and trade centre of the Roman province Pannonia, founded in the 2nd century. At the time of the Roman occupation, many burial chambers and tombs were built. These monuments have been conserved until today and they are part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
In the 4th century, Pécs was under the influence of Christianity. The early Christian necropolis built at that time has been part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 2000.
In 1009, Pécs became a religious centre and bishop’s seat, after the foundation of the diocese. The name Pécs was mentioned for the first time in the 13th century. In the meantime, it was called Quinque Ecclesiae. This name has been partly conserved and it still exists in the German language, where Pécs is also known as Fünfkirchen (Five Churches).
In 1367, the first Hungarian university was built in Pécs.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Pécs was under Turkish rule.
In the 17th century, some Danube Swabian moved to Pécs. Nowadays there are also other minorities in Pécs.
In the middle of the 19th century the city gained a new impulse which is still being clearly felt today, as trade and winegrowing have developed slowly but surely throughout the centuries.
The present Pécs originated with the union of a number of suburbs after the Second World War. The city has been able to maintain its cultural heritage in spite of the many intruders.
Pécs received the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize in 1998, thanks to its efforts to maintain the culture of minorities and its tolerant and helpful approach to refugees. In 2010, Pécs became a European capital of culture.