Hassan Jakovali's mosque in Pecs
Pécs (PEH-ch; ) 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.
There are frequent trains to Pécs from Budapest's Déli or Keleti station - see Hungarian Railway Timetable . 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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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 . (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 (www.tiszacipo.hu) 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, recently succeeded the hillside restaurant Susogó, which was rated Hungary's 3rd best in the 2008 Restaurants and Wine Guide, and also placed in the top ten of the Hungarian Dining Guide. Enoteca is divided into a more exclusive section serving nouvelle cuisine, including a degustation menu, and a chef 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.
- TrendoLine, next to the main square, serves a daily menu which often has a subtle Italian touch.
- 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.
- Kor-Hely. Known for traditional rural cusisine and a few mexican dishes; "csülkös sztrapacska" (potato gnocchi with cottage cheese and smoked pork knuckle) particularly recommended.
- 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  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  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 . In the historical center of Pécs (20 meters from Széchenyi Square). Ideal for families and for business travelers as well.
- Makártanya Sportcenter, . 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 . 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  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  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  is situated in a quiet calm and decent place in the greenbelt out off the downtown on the hill.
- Delanta Pension  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 ***  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.
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).
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