SZABOLCS VARGA

GARDEN OF IREM
PÉCS IN THE OTTOMAN ERA (1526–1686)

Theological College of Pécs

Pécs Története Alapítvány

Pécs, 2009

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Publised by THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE OF PÉCS H-7621 Pécs, 1-3 Papnövelde str. www.pphf.hu (PHF kiadványok 8. Seria Historiae Dioecesis Quinqueecclesiensis 6.) PÉCS TÖRTÉNETE ALAPÍTVÁNY H-7621 Pécs, 1 Széchenyi square www.pecsorokseg.hu/pecs_tortenete_alapitvany

A kötet a Pécs Európa Kulturális Fővárosa 2010 program alkalmából Pécs Megyei Jogú Város Önkormányzata támogatásával jelent meg.

Edited by: LÁZÁR VÉRTESI English translation written by: KRISZTINA VARGA

ISBN 978-963-87435-4-1 ISSN 1787-5161

Felelős kiadó: ZSOLT CZIGLÁNYI – JENŐ UJVÁRI

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Pécs is going to be the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2010 together with Essen and Istambul. Preparing for the occasion, scholars started to investigate the history of the city from new aspects. Interestingly enough, whereas Essen is in the heartland of the Christian civilization, and Istambul is the capital of the Islam, Pécs is situated on the border of the two worlds, and has the characteristics of both. Its architecture links the two cultures.

The research results of the past few years have confirmed that investigating the history of the Ottoman domination should be separated into several periods, as an overall negative tendency cannot
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be displayed. Despite the Ottoman conquest, the Hungarian economy flourished throughout the 16th century, and the society soon regenerated after the first shocks. The excellent cultural conditions and the intensive peregrinations were striking evidence of that. In fact, it was the period of the Thirteen Years War that disrupted the so far effective economic system and undermined the Hungarian settlement structure. This process was also affected by the general European recession and the opening of new trade routes which deeply influenced the whole Mediterranean, including the Kingdom of Spain, the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire. The cause of the 17th century decline in Hungary, which was clearly perceived by the contemporaries, did not lie only in the Ottoman presence but also in the spreading of the western European events over Hungary. More precisely, the two factors together brought about the negative picture of the Ottoman domination that was reflected in the 18thcentury sources, and which led later historians astray. This duality can also be seen in the history of the Ottoman Pécs. Despite its difficult situation, the city prospered throughout the 16th century; its relations, cityscape and population were almost the same as they had been at the end of the late Middle Ages, irrespective of the change of rule in the area. Nevertheless, in the 17th century, though the city did not suffer serious damage during the „Long War”, its Hungarian inhabitants started to move away, and the ones who remained saw impoverishment. Thus, the community could no longer support its formerly flourishing school. The Ottoman presence could not cause this alone, because the ruling mechanisms of the Ottoman Empire did not change, or, where it could be seen, the sources suggested the „softening” of the regime. Thus, it is worth investigating on the microlevel where, when and to what extent did the Ottoman Empire induce the exchange of the existing economic, social and administrative structures or, on the contrary, why it let them operate invariably. To understand this, one

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has to look at the late medieval state of affairs of Pécs (at that time still in Christian hold). During the Middle Ages, Pécs was the seat of the Diocese of Pécs, and that of the County of Baranya. Therefore, it functioned as a middle-level religious and lay administrative centre. Beside its administrative role, its favourable environmental conditions also contributed to its significance within the Kingdom of Hungary. Grapes producing excellent wine grew in the vineyards that were marketable among the inhabitants of the city. They could generate considerable profit from wine trade, although the industry was dominated by the merchants of Tolna and Buda. Due to this trade, Pécs had strong connections with Buda and the settlements of Tolna along the River Danube.

Although legally Pécs was only a market town (under the authority of the bishop of Pécs and that of the chapter), its cityscape was more urbanised than that of the majority of the oppidums. It was mainly due to the religious institutions it housed as the centre of the bishopric. The Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites, the Premonstratensians and the Benedictines all had monastic seats in the city, which further strengthened its religious character. Emphasising

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this is also important because Pécs was not an agricultural town despite its excellent environmental conditions. Rather, trade and crafts determined its economy which aimed at meeting the demands of the religious institutions. The large bishopric court, the extensive chapter and the monks all created great demands for goods. The sophisticated needs of the bishopric court accounted for the preponderance of the guild of goldsmiths in the city. The location of the religious institutions determined the structure of the city. The Ottoman charitable institutions operated on the site of the medieval sacred antecedents and thus, ensured the continuity of the space structure. Pécs was also an important educational centre. Its famous cathedral chapter school attracted the students until as late as the Ottoman conquest. Beside the chapter school, the mendicant orders also provided education in the city. Miklós Istvánffy, the famous Humanist, wrote that 2,000 students attended differents schools in Pécs at the same time. Although it might be an exaggeration, it underlines the student city character of the town. Many of the students acquiring the basic skills here continued their education at foreign universities. Sixty-four students from Pécs enrolled in the universities of Krakow and Vienna in the late Middle Ages. It meant that the knowledge gained in the local schools was enough for the students to cope with the university. The fact that Pécs was one of the centres of the Hungarian Humanism was partially due to the high level of education. The other reason for the presence of the Humanist sense in the city was that according to the documents preserved in the Vatican many of its inhabitants visited Rome. The intensive Italian connections promoted the fast spread of the new cultural ideal. At the end of the Middle Ages Pécs was a regional centre of organ making which required extensive knowledge. The profession was taught by the Dominican friars. These miscellaneous data also reveal that the location of the city along the route to Italy meant that it was a link between Buda
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and Slavonia, and also in a wider sense, between Italy and the Kingdom of Hungary. The economic importance of the Italian route grew at the end of the 15th century, when the price revolution of Western Europe created an unlimited market for the Hungarian products. The inhabitants of the city also participated in the profit. Nevertheless, despite the central location of the city in the regional road network, the merchants of Pécs were never able to gain dominant positions in the long-distance trade. The town’s role was rather to organise the exchange of goods in the region. The share in the profits of the cattle trade toward Italy was an essential income for the merchants of the city. Pécs also played an important role in the logistics from the end of the 15th century, during the Ottoman advance. Agricultural produce and weapons were stored here, and then transported to the threatened border castles in the south. In the first phase of the Ottoman conquest, Pécs was the hinterland of Slavonia. The inhabitants of Požega conquered by local Ottoman troops in 1536 and the chapter of Požega also fled to the city, and the treasures of the Bosnian chapter, originally kept in Đakovo, were sent to Pécs in 1537, too. However, from one aspect Pécs could not be the centre of the region: it could not defend the territory, moreover, it needed help, because the city and its castle were completely undefendable as a result of their location. The state of affairs did not change in 1541 either, when Pécs became a border castle. Ferdinand I attempted to organise the defence of South Transdanubia with its centre in Pécs, but he was not successful as its castle could not be developed despite the huge sums spent on it. The commanders of the castle were well aware of this fact, and fled from the city in 1543, even before the arrival of Süleyman’s army.

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Thus, Pécs surrendered, and became the centre of an Ottoman border province for long decades. The change of rule occured without troubles because the Ottoman soldiers were forbidden to plunder the city and, moreover, the city magistrates were generously allowed to choose the new, at that time an Ottoman, commander. The role of the city in the public administration remained unaltered during the Ottoman domination. Although the county apparatus fled to Szigetvár and the bishop also moved his seat, Pécs became the regional centre of the Ottoman public administration which developed paralelly. Although the whole of South Transdanubia officially belonged to the Sancak of Mohács, the office operated in Pécs in practice. The bey leading the sancak had his seat here most of the time, and the kadi’s office also worked in the town. Therefore, Pécs was not only the centre of the military administration of South Transdanubia but also that of the civil one. The significance of the city is obvious from the fact that when on 5 February 1545 the Beylerbey of Buda, Muhammad,
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announced the peace treaty with Ferdinand, the commissioners for supervising it were appointed in Buda, Velike, Jászberény and Pécs.

The city could not fulfill a significant role in defence in the Ottoman period either, with which the Ottoman military leadership was well aware of. The Ottomans managed to occupy other castles in Tolna and Baranya as early as 1545, which led to the safer position of Pécs. As a result, the number of guards were constantly reduced, and they were sent to serve in the nearby castles. Then, the logistic importance of the city came to the forefront again – the supplies could be accummulated here, and the soldiers of the adjacent castles were often fed from Pécs. The city had an extensive and dry cellar system suitable for storing large quantities of fodder, food and wine. If there were not enough grains, some of the stocks collected in Sriem and stored in Belgrade were sent up on the Danube, and were transported by carriage from Tolna. Therefore, one can suppose a supplying network centred in Belgrade with many regional depots, whose only aim was to provide the soldiers of the region. The depot in Pécs supplied the castles of South Transdanubia. Thus, the city was part of a network with an unprecedented North-South axis.

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After the occupation of Kanizsa during the „Long War”, Pécs’s military importance further declined from the point of view of the Ottoman military leadership, and its military role completely faded into the background, similarly to its medieval state. In this respect the Ottoman rule, ignoring a short intermezzo, did not produce any changes. Nevertheless, the ethnic composition of the population altered significantly in this period. However, this process has to be divided into two parts. Whereas there did not occur radical changes in the 16th century, the population of the city altered greatly in the 17th century. On the days preceding the Ottoman conquest, many inhabitants ran away in fear. All the German inhabitants moved from the city, as well as the bishopric court, the chapter and the monks. However, fleeing away was not a general trend. Many of the lay priests remained in the town ─ several of them lived in Pécs in the middle of the 16th century and served in the church of the Christian suburb. Since the town surrendered without fight, no damage was caused to human lives or buildings. Despite several inhabitants’ moving away, the population of the town did not decrease drastically, or the immigration from the neighbouring villages compensated the losses. Its ethnic composition changed only slightly in the 16th century, thus, the change of rule did not make a break in the local population structure. Although in these decades the Hungarians dominated, at the beginning only a few, but from the 17th century a growing number of South Slavs moved into the town, and finally formed the majority. They were mainly Catholics, but several renegade South Slavs arrived, too, who had converted to Islam and served as soldiers. A Balkanian inflow brought about a growth of population in Pécs during the Ottoman domination. At the end of the 16th century almost exclusively South Slav guards protected the castle. They brought their families with them, which further strengthened the South Slav-Muslim presence in the town. Ragusans (called Latins), Jews and Gypsies (called
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Kiptis) also arrived in the town. The latter were the most populous among them, and their conversion from the Orthodox religion to Islam was the fastest. The new inhabitants with their way of life and architecture so different from European customs altered the cityscape, and enriched it with many Balkanian elements. Therefore, whereas the population could be regarded as continuous in the 16th century, a sharp fluctuation occured in the 17th century. However, it was triggered by economic changes rather than the Ottoman rule. The Ottoman domination did not make a break in the economic life of Pécs in the beginning, it remained significant throughout the 16th century. It is obvious that the Hungarian economy disregarded the state of war and functioned properly. Contemporaries looked to the future with optimism in spite of the political setbacks. The invading power also regarded the pacification of the territory as important and thus, it did not restrict trade. Moreover, since the customs duties went to the Ottoman budget, it was in the Ottoman authotity’s interest to maintain them. This trade enriched the inhabitants of the market towns of the region, which produced spectacular cultural results. It also contributed to the formation of a strong Unitarian community supporting a library and a school, which resulted in the birth of influential theological works in the era. It is enough to think about György Válaszúti’s polemic writing „Pécsi disputa” or Mihály Bogáti Fazakas’s commentary on the Apocalypse. The Ottomans did not threaten foreign capital, either. The merchants from Pettau and Italy were present in the town throughout the 16th century, and they also had commercial agents in the town after its Ottoman occupation. The first colony of the Ragusan merchants appeared in 1545. It meant the slight shift of Pécs’s economic relationships because they traded in fabrics, and bought their goods no longer from the western markets but from the Balkan. Thus, they made the town diverse and divided. The Hungarians purchased their goods from the West, but the Muslims preferred the Balkanian products, which created two parallel economic spaces.
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This fact further strengthened the position of the town in these decades. However, the volume of the Balkanian trade was lower than that of the richer Hungarian trade, which explains why Pécs flourished only during the western European economic boom.

The fall started with the outbreak of the Thirteen Years War. The roots of the fights, on the one hand, lay in the social and economic mechanisms of the Ottoman Empire, because Constantinople in the 1580s went through a severe financial crisis which it attempted to overcome with succesful offensive wars. On the other hand, an overall economic crisis, relating to the decline of the Mediterranean, affected the region as the focus of trade shifted to the Atlantic Ocean. The Ottoman Empire rather suffered this event than brought it about. Complex outer causes (collapse of the western markets, the end of some commercial relationships caused by the Thirty Years War) brought about the economic decline of the town. Mainly the Hungarian merchants suffered the decline, because they were interested in the maintenance of the traditional route. They impoverished during the regression, and they could not have a share of supplying the growing Muslim population, either, because it was, and remained the monopoly of the South Slav merchants. Following the Thirteen Years War, the volume of the North-South
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trade increased to supply the Muslim demands. More and more Balkanian tradesmen emerged in the town, who also brought their cultures with them. However, the new immigrants did not have a significant role in the trade of Ottoman Hungary, and the sources do not indicate any rich Muslim-Ottoman merchants who could go into competition with the Ragusan or the Hungarian tradesmen. The population migrating to the town from the Balkan remained in economic dependence on the conquered inhabitants, and they could not get into the market or introduce any goods that could have increased their importance in the Ottoman Hungary. The cause of the impoverishment of the Hungarian merchants lay in the fact that they could not create new foreign markets in the 17th century. The growing number of Balkanian immigrants in Pécs also had its positive effects. Due to their demands the Ragusan merchants did bigger and bigger trade with their Balkanian partners. As a result, the largest fabrics market of the Ottoman Hungary operated in Pécs in the 17th century, where all the goods of India and Yemen could be found. Beside fabrics, they actively traded in wine, honey and wax, too. Presumably they were the ones to carry on tin trade, too. The material was badly needed for roofing the Muslim buildings, but the raw material had to be imported from the Balkan because of the lack of Hungarian tin mines. Pécs was also the centre of lead trade, perhaps due to the Ragusan activity. The new immigrants also secured the survival of the goldsmith profession. The Hungarian goldsmiths of the late Middle Ages had vanished from the sources by the end of the 16th century, and in the next century solely South Slavs, mainly Croatians arriving from Bosnia, practised this profession. Thus, the tradition continued despite the altered conditions. Constantinople badly suffered the 17th century crisis, as the Ottoman Empire was incapable of adopting reforms due to its organizational structure. The Ottoman Empire remained a military economy that did not tackle commercial issues thoroughly. The
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Porte raised direct taxes when attempting to solve economic problems, and thus, it crippled the conquered territory, and undermined the basis of its own rule. This economic policy made many of the town’s inhabitants move to the territories beyond the Danube where the pressure of the invading apparatus was gentler. The failure of the Ottoman economic policy and also that of the Ottoman organisational structure is clearly indicated by the fact that unlike formerly, in the 17th century the Ottomans also started to use the Hungarian currency in the Ottoman Hungary. However, the agony of the Ottoman Empire went on for a century in the Hungarian territory, during which time the Balkanian character of Pécs could deepen. Despite the survival of the Christian population and the economic dominance, Pécs had turned to be an Ottoman-Muslim town by the 17th century. Like in other towns of the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Baghdad was also celebrated in Pécs in 1639. During the festivities, the Muslim inhabitants influenced by the wine they had consumed, started to vandalise in the town, and imprisoned and flogged the Jesuits. It clearly shows the drawbacks of the social development of Pécs during the Ottoman era, when a truly Balkanian atmosphere pervaded the town. The Ottoman conquest caused not only the change of the ethnic composition, but the legal status of Pécs also suffered a major setback. The Ottoman legal system did not know urban autonomy. The main characteristic of an Ottoman town was that the governor and the kadi residing there were direct representatives of the Ottoman state. The aim of the Ottoman organisational structure was to make the population of the invaded territory depend upon these two officials, and to homogenise the different social groups having various privileges. The invaders often departed from this concept in the Hungarian territories, and the towns beyond the Danube enjoyed a surprisingly wide range of liberties. However, Pécs belonged to the group of towns where the institutions of autonomy
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could function only with limited authority. A considerable number of Muslims settled in these towns after the Ottoman conquest, who lived next to a great number of original inhabitants ─ forming a special co-existence. Pécs was undoubtedly the most populous centre of South Transdanubia, but its prominent role was slightly traceable in the autonomy of the Christian community. They could decide upon only minor religious issues, like the person of the priest or the celebration of feasts, but they did not take part in the administration of justice. Unlike in the towns beyond the Danube, the forums of Ottoman jurisdiction occupied a central role in forming the life of the community in Pécs. The office of the kadi operated constantly in this period. The official had a wide sphere of authority, and his influence was often strengthened by the beys having their seats in Pécs. Beside the kadi, a customs officer also lived in the town which also had its own chief architect and town supervisor. These offices also made the fortified town a great attraction for the Balkanian craftsmen and merchants who settled in Pécs with pleasure, which further increased the South Slav presence in the town. The Balkanisation of the town was a self-stimulation process, because kadis were appointed in places with significant Muslim population, and the Balkanian settlers preferred places where the office of the kadi operated. Thus, the possibilities of the Christians alarmingly lessened in the town in the 17th century. The Christian congregations living in Pécs often wanted to resolve their conflicts with the help of the Ottoman judge, which also added weight to the office of the kadi. Under these conditions the only was for the inhabitants of the town to represent their interests was bribery, ie. giving presents in return for goodwill, which stood in striking contrast to the European legal practice.

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As a result, the town became enriched with significant Balkanian element during the Ottoman era. In 1543 a so far unknown way of life arrived in the town with the conquerors, and a special European culture characterised by Balkanian marks started to flourish in the next decades. Parallel to this, the cityscape also changed, as the new inhabitants brought their own customs, and attempted to shape the town according to their way of life. As a result of the new function of Pécs, there were some modest military buildings and a few charitable institutions for the everyday life of the town. With their Christian antecedents, they formed a peculiar cityscape characteristic of both cultures. The main difference between the European and the Ottoman town structures was that while the former organised its community on the basis of the street structure, the latter divided the towns into neighbourhoods, or socalled mahalles. These were formed on congregational basis, and a religious building complex formed their centres. The function of the streets also changed. The Ottomans roofed the streets which became more narrow because of the stalls, and the site of everyday life
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shifted from the houses to the public space. The street network was not so important for the new inhabitants because the rhytms of their life was controlled by the rituals performed in the religious buildings in a set order. Despite the different usage of space, the long Balkanian presence did not change the basis of the road network significantly, but the 17th century Pécs resembled more to the centre of any Balkanian province than to its medieval self because of its inhabitants’ way of life. However, the old and the new space structures existed paralelly for a long time, their continuity can be clearly seen from the names. In 1554 the Christian taxpayers were listed in twelve mahalles that were named after Christian saints, which referred to a Christian building or a monastery in all cases. They also left the name of the street referring to a Hungarian profession in the case of the Fazokas utca mahalle, and the name of the street inhabited by Germans before the Ottoman conquest was also kept in spite of their inhabitants’ running away. It underlines the fact that the Ottoman town was an organic continuation of the one before the conquest, and because there was not a siege, it was not necessary to rebuild it. By the time of the War of the Holy League, no street names had survived from the late Middle Ages: the streets were named after their prominent Ottoman, Croatian or Hungarian inhabitants, or after some of their characteristics. But it was the consequence of the 17th century migration. The Balkanian mentality also appeared because the new inhabitants, perhaps as a result of their way of life, did not care about the conditions of the houses as they did not consider them valuable. It is not by chance that no buildings from the Ottoman era has survived in the town, which can be explained partly by their building of undurable materials.

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In fact financial causes explain the seemingly low standards of the arriving Ottoman population. Many wills show that at the beginning the invaders were much poorer than the local inhabitants. The arrivals attempted to increase their income as they could: they tried to rent shops, or if they did not manage to do so, they knocked together a small stand mainly from wood and mud, where they could practise their profession as a part-time job. In 1546 the treasury collected about 10,000 akçes of rent from thirty-six shops, and the five butchers had to pay 839 akçes. There were also duties to be paid on the pubs and the markets, and taxes were levied on the bazaar and the beer house. In 1564-65 forty-two shop-keepers had to pay duties, and the three butchers had to pay 850 akçes. The buildings characteristic of a commercial centre (the covered warehouse for storing the goods and the customs house aimed at putting on duties on the imported goods) were also present in Pécs. The Ottoman

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authorities even spent some money on the latter’s restoration in 1570. These data do not reveal an outstanding trade volume, but they suggest a lively retail trade typical of the Balkan. The Christian travellers might have been misled by these shanty stalls and houses when forming their opinions. The poverty of the invaders and the Balkanian immigrants brought about the drastic reshaping of the town which the European travellers considered as a destruction. The expulsion of the Christians from the town in the second half of the 16th century also contributed to the declining cityscape. The Christians had to withdraw to the suburbs, and the Christian buildings of the town not used by the Muslims began to decay, and many of them had disappeared by the end of the 17th century. However, the Christian population remained continuous despite its limitation to the suburbs. There they could practise their religion, opened workshops and stores and had their schools. Jesuit missionaries and Unitarian ministers were both integral parts of the community. They had a significant role in preserving the identity of the Christian population, and their activity formed an interesting syncretism among the Muslims of the area. For instance, Ottoman women being afraid of the pains of child bearing asked for Saint Ignotus’s help. In spite of the survival of Christianity, Pécs became more and more impoverished and decayed in the 17th century.

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The negative economic and social effects were compensated by the constant cultural significance of the town. Moreover, Pécs was not only the preserver of the old Christian culture but it also became the flourishing centre of the Muslim religious life in the Ottoman Hungary. The Turkish atmosphere of the current cityscape was created by the multitude of religious and charitable institutions that made Pécs one of the towns with the richest Ottoman architecture. The religious and charitable institutions included mosques, monasteries, mektebs providing basic education, academic schools or medreses, baths, and fountains. The latest reserach has revealed 11 mosques in Pécs. The Muslim mosques differed most sharply from the European architectural customs since they did not have a western-eastern, but a south-eastern aspect as they faced towards Mecca. Thus, they fitted in the structure of the towns of Ottoman Hungary with difficulty, and greatly modified the cityscape of the Christian Pécs. In 1543 the cathedral of the town was immediately converted into a mosque which was named after Sultan Süleyman. However, it was not rebuilt extensively, and perhaps it explains its lack of popularity among the believers. Only a few Muslims visited it, and it had become closed by the second half of the 17th century. The mosque of Memi Pasha next to the Szigeti Gate in the western part of the town was built at the same time on the site of the medieval Franciscan monastery. The sanctuary of the Franciscan church was pulled down to erect the mosque, and a portico and a minaret were built in front of the northern facade. A bath and a medrese also belonged to the mosque. The biggest mosque of Pécs and alsothat of Hungary was erected by Kasim Bey in the middle of the 16th century. Kasim Bey developed a close relationship with the town ─ he was the first commander of Pécs. He was a renegade Croatian, who had converted into Islam. He earned distinction in many campaigns.
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Kasim Bey’s mosque was built in the centre of town, on the site of the medieval Church of Saint Bartholomew, of the stones of the church. It was the only Islamic church of considerable importance north of the Danube. Its height was 22 metres, the diameter of its dome was 16 metres. Kasim’s energy is clearly indicated by the fact that he ordered the pulling down of an intact, three-naved church, and he did not content himself with the symbolic rebuilding of it (as was the case with Süleyman’s mosque). The mosque had an aspect towards Mecca, its entrance was on the north-west, and the sanctuary was erected in the south-eastern part of it. A hospice for travellers (zaviye) was also established near the mosque which was almost completed in 1546, and a few years later it was mentioned as a medrese in the sources. Evliya Çelebi also mentioned a bath next to it, but its building could start only after 1546. Interestingly enough, Kasim’s favourite town was not Pécs but Osijek where the sources revealed much more of his foundations, and he was also buried there. Thus, due to the Ottoman conquest Pécs’s cultural relationship with the areas south of the Drava became closer, too, while its western connections gradually broke down. The strengthening of the Balkanian relationships is indicated by the fact that Ferhad Pasha also founded a mosque in Pécs. He had also emerged in the North-Balkanian theatre of war, and was appointed Beylerbey of Bosnia several times. Ferhad also had strong connections in Banja Luka where many of his foundations survived. It was not by chance, because he was the one to occupy the town, and rebuilt it to his own taste. He had a mahalle in the town where his palace stood, and the most beautiful mosque of Banja Luka, which was surrounded by charitable institutions and served as the burial place of the well-to-do, can also be connected to his name. He built a bath, an elementary and an academic school there. Therefore, it is very interesting why he set up so many generous foundations in Pécs where he was a sancakbey only for a month.

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Of the important mosques of Pécs the mosque of Yakovali Hassan was established the latest. This is the most intact of all the similar buildings in Hungary, even its minaret survived the passage of time. Hassan also opened a mevlevi monastery, which refers to a close relationship with Sarajevo. Moreover, the layout of the ritual hall in Pécs is similar to that of the Ghazi Hüszrev mosque in Sarajevo. Hassan also came from the Balkan, and was a relation of Ferhad Pasha. His homeland was Đakovo that his great grandfather, Memi Pasha had occupied in 1536, and had also established a mosque and a bath in Pécs in the 1540s. Hassan’s mosque lay next to his great grandfather’s, which suggests that they were members of the Bosnian clan that erected most of the Ottoman historical buildings in Pécs. The parallels in the architecture of Osijek, Banja Luka, Đakovo and that of Pécs underpin the concept of the close relationship between the Transdanubian town and the northern Balkan. The soldiers stationed in Pécs, the new settlers of the town, the merchants and their goods also arrived from the latter territory, as well as the effects that completely changed the outlook of the town, making it similar to those of the Balkan. Behind the mosque one can still find period Ottoman tombs. The Balkanian atmosphere was further strengthened by the public wells built in Pécs which were inseparable from the Ottoman cityscape. Many Ottoman ornamental wells (cesme), fountains (sardivan) and wells (sebil) were built in the town, and one of them still operated at the beginning of the 20th century. Pécs became an important Muslim pilgrimage destination during the Ottoman era because of the burial place of Idris Baba, a venerated bektashi dervish. Nisandsi Mehmed, an official of Süleyman who died in Pécs during the campaign of 1566, was buried in the town, too. The importance of the town also arose from the Ottoman tradition according to which the much respected Greek philosopher Plato was buried here. The root of the thought might

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have been the fame of the cathedral chapter school of Pécs ─ the Ottomans might have connected Plato with this „academy”. In the 17th century eleven mektebs and five medreses operated in the town due to various charitable foundations. In the Ottoman Hungary only Buda (eighteen), Eger (seventeen) and – if we count it here ─ Sremska Mitrovica (twelve) could boast with more mektebs. As a result, the town can be regarded as one of the most significant educational centres of Ottoman Hungary, thus, its role was similar to its medieval one. Beside the schools, the monasteries were also important educational centres. The dervishes living in them might be considered as an Ottoman cultural stratum outside of the political elite. The monasteries of the ascetic halvetis and those of the bektashis spread in Ottoman Hungary and also in Pécs. The halvetis, being an Orthodox Sunni congregation and a dervish community of the borderland, enjoyed the support of the government, and were bitter rivals of the bektashis. They had close relationships with the soldiers of the Ottoman territory, too. The government also greatly needed the bektashis here as they belonged to the more patient trend of Islam and thus, they could more easily stroke the right tone with the local inhabitants. They often had schools and public kitchens (imaret) next to their monasteries, and were immensely popular among the inhabitants. The most significant dervish monastery of Pécs was erected by Hassan Pasha for the mevlevis. They were a truly urban order, and were also called whirling dervishes. This was the only known mevlevihane in Ottoman Hungary and therefore, it became the centre of mystic poetry and Persian culture in the region. The mevlevi monasteries (also called tekke or zaviye) gave refuge to the deviationist Islamic mysticism. This was the only monastery of the about one hundred monasteries of Ottoman Hungary where music was taught, and thus, it is certain that Pécs was one of the centres of music life and music education in this area. The dervish
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communities’ public religious practises coupled with dance and music attracted great masses, and they were the only forums where believers could get familiar with music education, mystic poetry or the language of poetry, the Persian. The order was an interesting spot of the town, and its influence spread over the whole South Transdanubia where more people knew Persian than in other parts of Ottoman Hungary. As a summary, it can be stated that the cityscape changed considerably during the decades of the Ottoman conquest. Some of the sacral buildings determining the space structure decayed and new buildings were erected in place of them. The survived churches also went under great conversion according to the needs of the new inhabitants. Despite the preservation of the road network, the streets also reflected a typical Balkanian way of life. The limits of the medieval urban life were the ones to survive the most intact, because the immigrant Ottomans settled within the town walls and, apart from the areas near the gates of the town, they did not establish new Muslim suburbs. The town so far built on European norms started to resemble North-Balkanian cities because of the family relations of the builders. One can find similar buildings not in Vienna or Buda but in Osijek, in Sremska Mitrovica or in Banja Luka. Whereas at the end of the Middle Ages the travellers were enthusiastic about the multitude of Christian buildings, a hundred years later they described Pécs as one of the towns richest in Ottoman religious buildings in Ottoman Hungary. Paralelly, Pécs developed into one of the most coloured and varied centres of the Hungarian towns. It was not only an important stop of the easternwestern connections, but it mediated cultural effects coming from the heart of the Balkanian peninsula to the north or from the north to the south, too. The drastic changes forming the town in the Ottoman era were caused by the new inhabitants of Pécs coming from Sriem, Serbia, Bosnia and Slavonia. The immigrants brought their culture, connections and customs with them and as a result,
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they not only transformed the cityscape, but also enriched the town’s society and economy with new elements.

However, the power of the decreasing number of Christian inhabitants can be clearly seen if one consider that after the recapture of the town in 1686 the Muslim world soon fell apart. The Ottoman Empire could not break the Hungarian people, which showed the rootlessness of the invaders and that the net of the Hungarian society was stronger than that of its Balkanian counterparts. Due to this, Pécs with its wonderful surviving buildings could win the honorary title of the Cultural Capital of Europe.

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