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World Heritage Pécs

en

History

The predecessor of Pécs in the Roman times called Sopianae lay in the junction of important commercial routes at the Southern foot of the Mecsek Mountain. The city had its heydays in the 4th century after it had become the administrative centre of the Valeria province. It was around this time that the settlement became a full a city; an economic, cultural and religious centre.

Sopianae, Pécs in the Roman period


The medieval and the modern city cover the full area of its predecessor from the Roman times so the architectural exploration could hardly get appropriate source materials. For a long period only the late Roman burials have served with clear proof about the city that used to be there. It were the excavation works starting at the beginning of the 20th century and the urban development projects of the recent decades due to which the borders of the city of Sopianae have started to outline.

historia2

The settlement from the Roman period lied within the boundaries of today’s city centre, and its 400X400 meter seat was surrounded by the city walls at the beginning of the 4th century. Starting from the late Roman period three different cemeteries are known to have lied around the city: one Southeast from the Roman city on the area of today’s Árkád Shopping Centre; one to the West on the area of today’s Kossuth Square; and another one North from the settlement on and around today’s Szent István (Saint Stephen) Square. This last one is the grand burial site of the city and this is the World Heritage Site.

The several thousands of tombs, the numerous burial chambers, the burial chapel and the greater cemetery buildings (the mausoleum, Cella Trichora and the Cella Septichora) refer to a religious centre and a Christian community with a high number of members.

The application „World heritage of Pécs, developing the touristic attractions” in 2004 had its aim in raising the quality of the already existing historical memories and in further widening the circle of the monuments to be introduced to the public. The full excavation and introduction of one of the largest buildings of the Cella Septichora (the burial site with seven apses) got a central role within the project. The known Early Christian monuments that lie under the Dóm Square have been united with the newly excavated parts to make one building complex people can walk around. The result is the Cella Septichora Visitor Center today.

Literature: Magyar régészet az ezredfordulón (Editor in chief: Zsolt Visy, Managing editor: Mihály Nagy) Budapest 2003., Vezető a pécsi világörökségi helyszín római kori emlékeihez (Csaba Pozsárkó –Zsolt Tóth) Pécs 2010.