Pécs is a smallish town 3 hours by train South of Budapest. It’s not far from the border with Croatia. It’s a cute little town, but we got a late start in the morning, so we only had six hours or so there. There are a lot of museums we didn’t get to.
In the main square there’s a mosque that was turned into a church. It’s kind of cool looking and I think it’s funny how they stick a cross on top of the symbol for Islam and call it good. We found that on a minaret in Eger as well. I found out later that the godfather of Attila, our little friend who lives down the road, is the priest in that church that used to be a mosque.
Pécs has a lover’s lock repository as well. It seems to be a fad in Europe. My friend says in Warsaw there’s a bridge where you lock your lock and then throw the key into the river. I can just imagine someone in two millenia discovering a million keys buried under what used to be a river and trying to make sense of it. “Perhaps it was some ritual cleansing. The key representing being locked to the powers of evil.”
My favorite part of Pécs was the cathedral. It’s beautiful inside. The larger part is gorgeous and then there’s a smaller crypt down below that was the original church that’s lovely as well.
After the cathedral we found some ruins of an old church and an early Christian burial place. You walk down these stairs and into a glass partition that projects into this tiny room with one of those stone, above ground coffins. Man, my technical terms are not agreeing with me today. Anyway, somebody was buried there in the 4th century, shortly after Rome converted to Christianity. It was super old and kind of cool, but otherwise a little boring. There are some other early Christian burial places, but we missed them and didn’t have time to go back.
We had dinner at a nice little restaurant where we could sit outdoors. The food was fabulous, but made us miss our train. That was fine because the grilled vegetables with brie was worth it and there was a later train. And, that way we weren’t in too much of a hurry to get Avery the ice cream we had been bribing her with since the previous day.
On the way back to the train station we checked out some Zsolnay tiles. The Zsolnay family figured out a way of making tiles really tough so they could withstand the cold and heat of being on a roof, but still maintain their bright colors. Several buildings all throughout Hungary have their tiles on their roofs, including the Great Market Hall and Matyas Templom here in Budapest. They’re really pretty.
The Zsolnay family also came up with an iridescent glaze they can put on ceramics. It’s makes the ceramic not as tough, so it’s not used on roofs, but there’s a fountain with figures on it that are glazed this way in the main square of Pécs. They cover it in the Winter to protect it. Communism wasn’t very kind to the Zsolnay family, but they’ve come back some in the last few years and you can buy their products again. They’re fairly pricey though.
Here’s a picture of Matyas Templom in Budapest so you can see some more tiles.