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National Theatre of Pécs - Pécs, Hungary
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Downtown, main square - Pécs, Hungary

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GPS coordinates: Latitude 46°4'34", Longitude 18°13'40" (N46 4.57 - E18 13.67)

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Mosque of Pasha Qasim (today Roman Catholic Church, formerly called St Bartholomew's Church) by night - Pécs, Hungary Mosque of Pasha Qasim (today Roman Catholic Church, formerly called St Bartholomew's Church) by night

Although it is somewhat a cliché it is still true that the Mosque of Pasha Qasim (the present-day Downtown Candlemas Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) is one of the gems of the Turkish-Islamic architecture in Hungary. This islamic place of worship was built during the 150-year-long Turkish occupation of Hungary, in the place of an old Christian church (the St. Bartholomew's Church, in Hungarian "Szent Bertalan-templom"). After it was in Hungarian hands again it was rebuilt to a Catholic church, but despite it the Islamic architectural character remained relatively intact. To reach again a similar appearance as in the Ottoman era, in 1956 the architects replaced the former slightly pointed (so-called Florentine style) dome of the church with a lower hemispherical one. This more closely resembles the dome of the original mosque.

Interior of Pasha Qasim's Mosque (currently the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Candlemas) - Pécs, Hungary Interior of Pasha Qasim's Mosque (currently the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Candlemas)

The Pasha Qasim's Mosque was built in place of the 13th-century St. Bartholomew's Church during the Ottoman rule of Hungary around the 1560s, probably by using the stones of the old Christian church. After Hungary was liberated from Turkish rule the church was acquired by the Roman Catholic Jesuit Order. In 1702 the turkish mosque was converted to Christian church, as well as in 1766 the ruined minaret was also demolished.

As the time went on there were more significant alterations, the las one was done in 1939. At that time among other things the annexed baroque tower (which was built around 1770) was demolished, and in place of it the current semicircular part of the building was built by the plans of Nándor Körmendy. The large murals on the wall inside the new "wing" were created by Ernő Gebauer in 1947.

The renovated facade of Hotel Nádor - Pécs, Hungary The renovated facade of Hotel Nádor

The Hotel Nádor on the main square of Pécs is actually the second hotel building here with the same name. The Hotel Nádor was built in 1845, it was named after Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary from the Habsburg family (the Hungarian word "nádor" means "palatine"). This relatively simple neoclassical style three-storey hotel with its 30 nicely furnished rooms was the royal and imperial headquarters during the Hungarian Revolution and Independence War of 1848-1849.

After some time the first Hotel Nádor became outdated and obsolate, so in 1902 a new Art Nouveau style building was built by the plans of architect Imre Schlauch, and this can be seen today. The 75-room new hotel took more space from the main square, so the traffic was moved to the other side of the square.

The culmination of the story of the second Nádor Hotel arrived around the 1920s, when it got a new owner and was united with the Hotel Pannónia (the present-day Hotel Palatinus). The Hotel Nádor was a real luxury hotel, equipped both with expensive fixtures and decors, as well as technological innovations (e.g. electric lighting and central heating). In addition, there was an openable dome roof over its 220-person-capacity restaurant.

The post-World War II communist era brought deprivatization for the hotel, but within its walls the sparkling, lively social life still remained. Many famous Hungarian actors and writers were frequent guests here, they spent pleasant days and weeks here. In 1961 the hotel was extended with a confectionery, too.

Unfortunately the second Hotel Nádor was also outdated over time, slowly it became obsolete and it was closed in 1989. In 1999 it was acquired by the Danubius Hotels Group hotel chain, and the building was nicely renovated and modernized at least from outside. For example it received an underground parking garage and also an art gallery was opened within its walls. However, the complete renovation of the interior still haven't done, so today (in 2013) it cannot operate as a hotel, yet.

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