Pécs is a beautiful place to study. Not only because it is simultaneously a friendly village and a very active city, in which you never have to be bored. You can be sure you will find everything that a student could wish.
The history of Pécs dates back over 2000 years, and the name of the old Roman town, "Sopianae" is still found in the names of institutions and products. Although its development suffered several setbacks throughout the centuries, such as the Tatar invasions or the Ottoman-Turkish Rule, it has not only survived, but developed into a pleasant, modern town, rich in historical monuments, an administrative, cultural and educational centre offering a lot to those who wish to live or study here. The town is famous for its museums, galleries, the festivals and cultural events it hosts. The downtown of Pécs is a unique mixture of the relics of Early Christianity, the arrival of the Hungarians, the Turkish reign and the achievements of modern architecture and arts. If you plan sightseeing, you can take a guided city tour or with help of a map from the Tourinform office you can discover the city by yourself too.
Arts and Theatre
If you want to discover the cultural offerings of the city, one of the best places to visit is the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, home of several exhibitions, art events and the Janus University Theatre, which already offers German language theatre plays as well. The National Theatre of Pécs is located at the heart of the city in Király Street, where you can enjoy a changing variety of the most popular theatre plays with a student discount.
It should not cause you a headache where to go to visit a museum because many of them are located in the downtown, so you don't have to go far if you want to see the most popular art and historical exhibitions of Pécs.
Do not miss the most famous of all, the Cella Septichora (Szent István Square) Visitor Centre, a cemetery from the early Christian times, which has been part of the World Heritage since the year 2000. The one I really recommend visiting is the Vasarely museum (3 Káptalan Street), which building was the one-time house of the Vasarely family. Seeing these special, geometric pictures is a unique experience for your senses. You only have to walk a few meters to find the Csontváry Museum. The acclaimed Hungarian painter Csontváry has become world-famous for his painting "The Lonely Cedar", which can also be found among his other masterpieces exhibited in the gallery.
The Szerecsen Chemist's Museum (1 Apáca street ) is a one-of-a-kind sight to visit recommended not only for pharmacy students. Located right at the corner of the main square, it has been operating as a chemist's since 1897. The pharmacy also hosts a drug history exhibition; however, the forefront and the interior themselves are worth visiting too.
If you are interested in visiting other museums in Pécs, you can find information in English on the Museums of Pécs site.
For those who prefer jazz, world or classical music, Kodály Centre, one of Hungary's most beautiful world-class concert halls is the place to visit for a high-quality concert experience. A regular performer of the concert hall is the Pannon Filharmonic Orchestra playing many classical interpretations of contemporary works, such as movie themes, creating a perfect mixture of the music of the past and the present.
If you are more into bands, bars or clubs you can see the list of places here.
Pécs also has some music centered festivals where you can discover the music of the most popular Hungarian and international bands. PEN, the Pécs University Days is one of the most prominent student events of the year with a series of concerts and performances. If you are more into rock music, the Rockmaraton is the best event to go to for a mind- and head-blowing rock experience. Fishing On Orfű is the ultimate summer festival in June located right next to the lake Orfű in the Mecsek Mountains.
There are plenty of other festivals year-round, where you can enjoy the traditional and modern Hungarian performances. The POSZT(National Theatre Meeting in Pécs) in June offers many theatre related indoor and outdoor programs. The traditional Sétatér Fesztivál is perfect for those interested in Hungary's and the surrounding nations' drinks, foods and culture supplemented with a wide range of entertainment programs - for 3 weeks, day and night. ICWIP (International Culture Week in Pécs) offers a great opportunity to meet other students from all over the world in a framework of events concentrating on international studies. The aim of the Örökség Fesztivál - Pécsi Napok(Heritage Festival - Pécs Days) is to deliver a wide variety of cultural and art performances, not only in a traditional but often in an unconventional way. The Wine and Champagne Festival is all about its name with many different types of wine to taste and other home-made products to buy in a framework of a non-traditional culinary festival. Pécs City Karnevál is a huge street party with colorful costumes, music and fun all day in the streets of the city centre. Even if it is not strictly interpreted as a festival, Mecsek Rallye is definitely one of the biggest and oldest sport events of the city with fast cars racing on the slopes of Pécs. With the arrival of winter the festival season is not over yet. As many other cities, Pécs also has its traditional Advent fair on the Széchenyi and Kossuth squares with hot drinks, handmade gifts and a traditional Christmas swirl.
Of course there is life beyond the wide variety of festivals, so even if there is nothing "special' going on in Pécs, you still don't have to sit at home. There are 2 cinemas in Pécs offering movies in English with Hungarian subtitles. The Cinemacity in Pécs Pláza mall has the newest box office movie offers, while at the Apolló Art Movie you can watch well or less-known art movies.
Because of the unique locality of Pécs you simply cannot get lost in the city. If you go down from the hill sooner or later you will find the city centre. But if you are willing to spend some time in the untroubled nature, all you have to do is to go up the hill.
The Mecsek hill which is surrounding Pécs is a harmonic place to visit during the whole year. On the top of it you will find the TV-tower, with a restaurant and an amazing view at the city. Who is willing to find the nature inside the city must go to the Botanical Garden of the University (6 Ifjúság Street). It is a little island of harmony within the civilization. The Tettye ruins are telling the story of the renaissance. Unfortunately the palace did not remain hereanymore but the green area around it has been recently renovated, making it an ideal place to take a walk among the ruins, especially at night when you can have a magical view at the whole city. If you don't mind taking a bus, Lake Malomvölgy or Lake Orfű are the best places to visit to be near the water, especially in summertime. In Lake Orfű you can also swim, however, Lake Malomvölgy is only for fishing or hiking/running/biking on the route around the lake.
Getting closer to the nature might involve living animals too; in this case you should definitely visit the Aquarium-terrarium (31 Munkácsy Mihály street). The Pécs Zoo is under construction currently, according to the operator it will be able to welcome guests again by the middle of 2015.
If you want to get up-to-date with the cultural program selection, you can read several online and offline media to be informed. The free EnjoyPécs English-Hungarian Cultural and Touristic Program Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine that can be found in Tourinform offices, hotels, restaurants, pubs, movies, other cultural institutions and also at the Faculties and dormitories of the University. This magazine covers everything you need to know about the cultural life in Pécs and beyond. Moreover the issues are also available online with all the information an international student needs. The UNIV Pécs bi-weekly University newspaper has also a selection of upcoming programs; you can find it at every faculty of the UP.