Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae) (2000)

Hungary 2006. Christian Tombs in Pécs.

In the 4th century, a remarkable series of decorated tombs were constructed in the cemetery of the Roman provincial town of Sopianae (modern Pécs). These are important both structurally and architecturally, since they were built as underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above the ground. The tombs are important also in artistic terms, since they are richly decorated with murals of outstanding quality depicting Christian themes. 
  • Hungary 2006. Christian Tombs in Pécs. Scan by courtesy of István Telmanyi (Hungary). 

The area has been inhabited since ancient times, with the oldest archaeological findings being 6000 years old. Before the Roman era the place was inhabited by Celts. When Western Hungary was a province of the Roman Empire (named Pannonia), the Romans founded several wine-producing colonies under the collective name of Sopianae where now Pécs stands, in the early 2nd century. 

The centre of Sopianae was where now the Postal Palace stands. Some parts of the Roman aqueduct are still visible. When Pannonia province was divided into four administrative divisions, Sopianae was the capital of the division named Valeria. In the first half of the 4th century Sopianae became an important Christian city. 

By the end of the century Roman rule weakened in the area, mostly due to attacks by Babarians and Huns. When Charlemagne arrived in the area, it was ruled by Avars and Slavs. Charlemagne, after conquering the area, annexed it to the Holy Roman Empire. It belonged to the Diocese of Salzburg (Austria). The German name is Fünfkirchen [Five Churches]. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Hungary (on this website). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Hungary-section, for further information on such properties. 

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Revised 21 nov 2006  
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