The Turkish demolished the gothic church of St. Bartholomew originally built in the mid-13th century on the main square of the town. The stones of the old church were used to build a mosque according to the instructions of pasha Gazi Kaseem who led the Turkish army occupying the town in 1543. Pécs was liberated from Turkish rule after nearly one and half centuries, on the 14th of October 1868. Today the building operates as a Catholic church again, however, it retained the shape of the Turkish mosque. The mosque of pasha Gazi Kaseem, considering its dimensions, is the most significant Turkish-age monument in Hungary.
The 143 years of Turkish occupation changed the appearance of the town, Pécs became a city of Eastern characteristics. As the Turkish conquerors settled down in the region, they had long-term goals in mind: they set out to shape and modify their environment to something more like what they had been accustomed to. They built mosques for the refreshment of the soul and baths for the body, while the main street soon became a bazaar. On Széchenyi square, the Turkish demolished the gothic church of St. Bartholomew originally built in the mid-13th century. The stones of the old church were used to build a mosque according to the instructions of pasha Gazi Kaseem who occupied the town in 1543. The famous traveller of the age, Evlia Cheleby wrote that the beauty and size of the Pécs mosque was rivalling Sultan Selim's Istanbul mosque. Pécs was liberated from the Turkish rule after nearly one and half centuries, on the 14th of October 1686.
The thanksgiving service for the liberating army was held here as well. Only Christian services have been held in the building since 1868, and, although it was reconstructed a number of times in order to accommodate Catholic services, the shape of the Turkish mosque was kept, regardless. The characteristic Ottoman architectural elements are very clear: the Ottoman windows, the vault of the interior and the myhrab, or the prayer cabin, directed towards Mecca. The minaret (the tower of the mosque) was hit by lightning in the 18th century, therefore the Jesuits had it demolished. The view of the Turkish half moon and the Catholic cross is unique on the top of the dome. The simultaneous usage of the two symbols represents that the two religions can coexist peacefully together. The interior of the church was almost doubled in size during the 1933 reconstruction due to the addition of a semicircular appendage. The triumphal arch and artistic frescos depicting the past of the church link the two areas. The frescos were painted by the famous painter of Pécs, Ernő Gebauer. The organ of the church was built in 1943 in the famous Angster factory of Pécs. The mosque of pasha Gazi Kaseem, considering its dimensions, is the most significant Turkish-age monument in Hungary.
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