Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pecs

Today is my last day in Pecs. I must say I've rather enjoyed the city. Initially I was thinking of giving the place a pass in order to travel through a few small places instead. I can say I'm very glad I changed my mind. Pecs is the 4th or 5th largest city here and is due to become Europe's "Culture Capital" in 2010, which will allow it do more fully develop its tourism and should led to the construction of a world-class concert hall, among other things. I spent the morning exploring a labryrinth of Roman and Christian burial sites along with parts of the city walls underneath the square and the cathedral. What surprised me was that many of these excavations are not behind glass. There are housed in an underground visitors centre but for the most part there's not a lot to prevent curious Canadians from walking right up to the old walls and vaults and touching them. The old frescoes were something to see.

Along with Sopron I'd have to say that Pecs is the place to go in Hungary to see such a wealth of Roman-era remains. I was able to get some decent pictures of some of the tomb sites that I definitely plan to post on my blog once I get back across the pond.

Tomorrow morning the plan is to grab a morning bus to the small town of Szigetvar (try saying that 10 times fast). Anyhow, the town holds the remains of a giant fortress that was attacked many times by the Ottomans. The 2500 Hungarian and Croatian defenders were pitted against 80 000 Turks. Needless to say the defenders were wiped out but not before the Ottomans lost about a quarter of their own force. Anyhow, the fortress covers a sizeable area from what I understand so I plan to spend the better part of tomorrow their before slowly working my way over to the eastern part of the country. This will mean a couple of long bus trips ahead of me but since there are a few more castles there it will all be worth it.

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