Photographer's Note

Széchenyi Square & Djami, Roman Catholic city church, Pécs

Once the water from four canals arrived here from four different directions and thus today's Széchenyi Square in Pécs was formerly called Four Canal Street.

Széchenyi Square is the centre of Pécs and as such plays an important role in the life of the town.
In the market of bygone days, where up to the early 20th century women from the surrounding villages dressed in colourful traditional costumes sold their produce, visitors today can be witnesses of craft fairs and merriments. One of these is the Easter Wait (Húsvétvárás) including a fair of hand-ornamented painted eggs from all over the country on the weekend before Easter each year. Each September, as a part of the Pécs Festival (Pécsi Napok), the square is the venue for the Festival of Grapes and Wines (Szőlő és Bor Ünnepe) with a fair, a vintage parade and tastings of the famous Baranya wines.

However, an everyday hustle and bustle is typical for the square, even when no celebration is scheduled. Students and tourists gather here, as do the locals of Pécs, making it a pleasant place to meet and chat. The young sit up on the wall that embraces the square, while the older citizens of Pécs (or the 'old vine-stocks' as they call themselves) stand around discussing the joys and sorrows of life on the corner of the pedestrianised King Street (Király utca) that opens from the square.

Djami, Roman Catholic city church (Belvárosi templom)

The Turkish djami was built between 1543 and 1546 on the site of the former St Bartholomew church. After the Turkish left the Jesuits dismantled the minaret and modified the building. However, it retains Islamic elements.

The prayer niche (mihrab) of the djami can be seen in the axis of the southeast wall; its painting is a restoration. To the right and the left are the calligraphic inscriptions of the names of Allah and Mohamed. Set as they are in a Christian church the stalactite vault and the keel-arched windows evoke the typical elements of Turkish architecture in an interesting way. The holy-water fonts were formerly Islamic ritual washing basins.

The builder of the djami was Gazi Kasim, later pasha of Buda. The djami remained intact following the recapture of the town after which the Jesuits used it as their church. It was modified in 1702 and again in 1766; the entrance hall and the minaret connected to the supporting wall of the entrance hall on the right corner were dismantled. Between 1939 and 1942 the djami was freed from the walls of the previous additions and extensions. At the same time the current semicircular building to the north was added. (Source: vendégváró)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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