You can check out what you can study as an international student at the University of Pécs here.
Pécs is a truly unique city to live in as a student, both because of the sizzling university life and the natural beauty of the region. Pécs is located in county Baranya, near the Croatian border, so the sea is always just a couple of hours of driving away. Imagine coming out of class on Friday and swimming in the Adriatic sea in the evening! If you are the adventurous type, it’s a no-brainer – you only need to get a couple of friends together to rent a car and drive a few hours to hit the beaches. But don’t get discouraged if you are not a big fan of water either, because you can also explore picturesque Serbia, which also very close.
Pécs has a pretty exceptional location even if you don’t count the fact that it is near the border. It is surrounded by plains on the southern side and the famous Mecsek mountain in the North. The southern altitude of the city gives it a strong Mediterranean feel, but the wind coming down from the mountain cools and clears the air in the evenings during the hot summers. If you know anything about wine, at this point you might already suspect that this area has to have some good ones to offer. And how right you are! This is, in fact, called the Pecsi wine region, which covers an astonishing 8.23 square km. The region’s special climate means that the air is dry and there’s a lot of sunlight, so only the Villányi wine region can be compared to Pécs. The area produces both red and white wines, with riesling being the most popular, but Pécs is also home to one of the country’s biggest champagne producers as well.
Pécs is the Heidelberg of Hungary, as the saying goes – and you can see that the city was not Europe’s cultural capital in 2010 for nothing. The whole thing starts with architecture. You might remember from your World History studies, that the Ottoman Empire spent quite a long time enjoying their reign in Hungary. Although it is probably not the fondest and proudest time of the nation’s history, it did leave us with a lot of cool things including music, new vocabulary, and amazing architecture. Pécs is where you can see it at its best: whether you stand in the shadow of the mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, or marvel at the Jakovali Hassan Mosque, you’ll see how seamlessly and organically the city grew around its historic buildings. An interesting modern example of the cityscape accommodating cultural needs is Múzeumutca, or Museum Street, which was named after the fact that every house in the street is some kind of a museum. It’s both very practical, and beautiful. A similar enterprise is Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, a transformed factory, which has become a city within the city with its 5 hectares of museums, concert halls, galleries, and theaters.
From the exceptional possibilities when it comes to culture and number of university students living around the city, it is no surprise that Pécs is also a favorite when it comes to parties. It’s enough to look at some of the insane festivals they organize, such as The Pécsi Student Days (PEN), Rockmaraton, P.DAY, Fishing on Orfű, the Summertime Blues & Jazz Festival, to mention a few. Pretty cool for a city with a population of 25 000 people, right? But once you go there, you’ll soon understand that there is something in the air in Pécs – or at least that is what the local musicians say, of which there are many! If Debrecen is the home of rock, then Pécs is certainly the heart of the underground music scene. The sheer number of concerts is enough to keep you occupied for months, and then there is the biggest theater festival in the country in the summer, and ballet, and folk dance, and and and… The list is endless.
The Zsolnay factory is the most important Hungaricum of the city. Originally a manufacturer of tiles, porcelain, and stoneware, it has become the cultural backbone of the region. The factory was opened in 1853, and has become famous because of the invention of pyrogranite, which took the Vienna World Expo’s breath away in 1873. Here’s what the Zsolnay website says about it: „[It] came into existence through the continuous development of architectural ceramic materials, and was created specifically to substitute for the costly stone carvings on the facades of historical buildings. It is architectural ceramics fired at high temperatures with a grainy structure resembling to sandstone. Pyrogranite is well suited for both external and interior applications either unglazed or with various glazes (majolika-, eozin-, salt glaze). The Pyrogranite plant within the Zsolnay factory was established in 1895. Eosin is based on the reduced-pasty luster technique already in use by the Persians in the 7th century. So in fact, it I not a new inventions, but the further development of an old, traditional procedure of which Vilmos Zsolnay developed an array of unique varieties.”