Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pécs - Day 2

On Thursday, we decided to see as much of Pécs as possible before our trip back to Budapest.  It was an amazing day! First, we ate breakfast at our hotel.  When we came down to the lobby, there were two place settings set for me and Dan.  We helped ourselves to the food, just like in an American hotel, but the fancy place setting made it special.  Our first stop was the Cathedral.

It was beautiful!! I took so many pictures that it was hard to choose which ones to show. Unfortunately, I can't post them all.  The inside has gorgeous paintings of the Bible stories, apostles, and saints. Here is one picture from the inside.

 Underneath the cathedral is a crypt. It is also beautifully painted.

After the cathedral, we went to the Cella Septichora.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ancient Christian burial ground from the 4th century! This first picture shows the remaining walls from the Cella Septichora.  It was a "sepulchral building with a unique floor plan with seven apses; it was not used for burial purposes."

There were two main burial chambers to see inside the building. The artwork was shocking because it's in such excellent condition.  Here is the information they provided us: 

"Burial chamber I (Peter-Paul): discovered in 1782, this late 4th-century chamber consists of an above-ground chapel, the subterranean burial chamber proper, with religious wall paintings, and a small vestibule leading to the burial chamber. It is cut into the slope of the Mecsek hills.
Burial chamber II (Wine Pitcher Chamber): a two-storey structure, with limestone walls and brick vaulting. On the wall of the niche carved above the sarcophagus there is a painting of a wine pitcher and glass, symbolizing the thirst of the soul journeying to the netherworld."

The picture below shows the ceiling of the Peter-Paul chamber. We were able to enter a small room below the chamber and look up through a glass ceiling. I actually gasped when I saw it. 

One of the burial sites included a sarcophagus which held the remains and this glass pitcher.  It's amazing to think they could make a pitcher out of glass in the 4th century.

In several sections of the Cella Septichora, they pointed out the use of the Christogram in the paintings and carvings. Dan and I were unfamiliar with this symbol.  This picture shows part of our guidebook which explained the design and meaning.

After the Cella Septichora, we visited the ancient Christian mausoleum.  This structure is also from the 4th century. There are paintings and carvings which have been preserved. On the left, you can see depictions of Adam and Eve and Daniel with lions.

Now for the romantic part of the day. There is a street in Pécs with a lock-wall.  The origins aren't romantic.  Apparently a student once returned his lock to the school by just putting it on the fence.  However, a tradition started for couples in love.  When a couple puts a lock on the fence, their love is "locked" together. Of course Dan and I wanted to participate as well. The original sections are completely full of locks so they have built a new structure for additional locks.

This is a picture of the lock we bought and our wedding rings. We were able to write our names on it and our wedding date (July 19, 2014!). I liked this lock because it had a letter S and the little heart makes me think of Hello Kitty.

Our final stop for the day was the Zsolnay Museum.  The Zsolnay family produced ceramic and porcelain products for all sorts of purposes. Their work includes sculpture, vases, dinnerware, figurines, and even architecture.  Zsolnay tiles are found on many famous buildings including the Mátyás Templom in Budapest. Here are a few pictures of my favorites. This first picture is from a well. The ducks have a special glaze where different colors can be seen from various angles.

This picture shows small little tiles in a frame. I was amazed by the detail of the landscapes.

Finally, this is a violin that they had made. We weren't able to get very close to it but it was beautiful. You can see more of their products on these websites:

After the museum, we had to head to the train station for our journey home. Dan and I loved Pécs! The city was beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the slower pace than Budapest.  There were tourists at all of the places we visited but it remained rather quiet. We were often the only two people in a certain area.  It's nice not to be crowded while learning about these amazing pieces of history. I recommend Pécs for everyone! 

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