"The Turkish South" Pecs by antistar
Pecs Travel Guide: 358 reviews and 922 photos
Pecs sits on the edge of the Balkans, deep in the southern part of Hungary that was held by the Ottomans for over a century and a half. It only returned to Hungarian hands in the late 17th century, by which time it had become thoroughly Turkish. Although many of these traces have since been erased, you can get a sense of how overwhelming the Turkish embrace of Pecs was by the way the former mosque, now a church, dominates the central square.
Today Pecs is a very modern Hungarian city, sitting in the shadow of the all dominating capital of Budapest to the north. It vies with Debrecen for second city status, and with Eger for the status of next most beautiful city after Budapest. It offers the passing tourist a fascinating history, one that is borne out in the magnificently preserved buildings, from the Roman ruins to the Austro-Hungarian baroque.
The major sights belong to the three religions of the city: the former mosque, the cathedral and the synagogue now sadly lacking in patrons. Perhaps the most important sight is the Necropolis of Sopianae, regarded highly enough to be protected on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but not as impressive as the more modern buildings that surround it.
Pecs is a small city, and you can wander its sights in a couple of hours, but you'll probably want to spend longer than that. It's a pleasant, photogenic city with relaxing cafes and bars lining narrow streets cluttered with colourful turn-of-the-century buildings. The city sits on the edge of a tall forested hill, and there's plenty of opportunities to get above it all and enjoy the vista, especially from the TV tower high on Mecsek.
The local authorities of Pecs have tarted up some of the uglier communist legacies in the Tirana style; a splash of... more travel advice
Pecs is easily reached by train from Budapest. It's a provincial city, though, so apart from the occasional train to... more travel advice
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