Photographer's Note

The Building Complex of the Elephant House, Pécs

Many famous families used to live in the building between the southwest corner of Széchenyi square and Jókai square. On the northwest corner of the trapezoid square a bakery used to work since 1712. At the beginning of the 1800s Ferenc Schneckenberger bought the land and he extended the house to open a restaurant that became known as the White Elephant. The spices, tools and colonial goods shop established by György Pucher in 1870 entitled "The Black Elephant" also operated here. The symbol of the successful shop is still on display on the northwest corner of the building of no. 6. Jókai square: the sheet metal elephant standing on a consol lent a name to the entire building complex.

The present shape of the northern side of the building was constructed during the 1820s when the partly empty land was bought by József Piatsek and he had an apartment house built there.
The house standing on the Széchenyi square-side of the building consists of two smaller buildings. The Hoitsy (or Kajdatsy) family owned this part for almost a hundred years from 1744, they furnished a dignified upper class residency upstairs.
The courtyard of the present building is called the Hild Garden that connects to the pedestrian traffic of Széchenyi and Jókai squares via three gateways. The downstairs sections of the building accommodate shops and restaurants, while by joining the rooms of the one-time Hoitsy and Piatsek houses, Művészetek Háza (The House of Arts) has been created upstairs.


Pécs is one of the most important intellectual, spiritual, cultural and economic centres of Southern Transdanubia. Combined with its priceless heritage sites, its lively cultural scene, theatres and museums, and the surrounding holiday resorts make the town a popular tourist centre.
Pécs is the fifth largest city of Hungary, located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains in the south-west of the country, close to its border with Croatia. It is the administrative and economical centre of Baranya county. Pécs is also the seat of Roman Catholic Diocese of Pécs.
The city Sopianae was founded by Romans at the beginning of the 2nd century, on an area peopled by Celts and Pannoni tribes. By the 4th century it became the capital of Valeria province and a significant early Christian center. The early Christian necropolis is from this era which became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2000.
Its episcopate was founded in 1009 by Steven I, and the first university in Hungary was founded in Pécs in 1367 by Louis I the Great. (The largest university still resides in Pécs with about 34,000 students.) Pécs was formed into one of the cultural and arts center of the country by bishop Janus Pannonius, the great, Hungarian, humanist poet. Pécs has a rich heritage from the age of a 150 year long Ottoman occupation, like the mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious on Széchenyi square. (Source: vendégváró)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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