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Pécs

Pécs (pāch) [key], Ger. Fünfkirchen, city (1991 est. pop. 170,000), SW Hungary, near the Croatian border. A county administrative seat and a railroad hub, Pécs is the industrial center of Hungary's chief coking coal–mining region. Uranium was also produced nearby during the Communist era. Both minerals were mined under very difficult conditions and by the mid-1990s all the mines were being closed. Leather goods, textiles, apparel, furniture, and industrial ceramics are produced in the city, and there are extensive vineyards in the surrounding area. One of Hungary's oldest cities, Pécs was the site of a Celtic settlement and became the capital of the Roman province of Lower Pannonia under Emperor Hadrian. It was first known as Sopianae and later as Quinque Ecclesiae [Lat., = five churches], from which the German name Fünfkirchen derived. In 1009 the city was made an episcopal see by St. Stephen, and in 1367 Louis I established the first Hungarian university there. Pécs was under Turkish rule from 1543 to 1686. Many German miners and colonists settled there during the 18th cent., and in 1780 it became a free city. The 11th-century cathedral (rebuilt in the late 19th cent.) is the most notable historic building in Pécs; the city also has an episcopal palace, a Turkish minaret, and several churches that were formerly mosques. The crises in the coal industry adversely affected the economy of the city and its region in the early 1990s.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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