Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim is definitely the most well-known building in Pécs. With its central location on the Széchenyi square and interesting mix of architectural features from different historical eras, it is the first thing on visitor`s “must-see list”.
Construction of the building began on the request of Pasha Gazi Kasim soon after he had conquered the city in the middle of the 16th century. He chose a special location for the mosque – the same place where the gothic Christian church of Saint George once stood and the builders used most of the material that was left from the church and included it into the new mosque. Building blocks from different eras can still be clearly visible today and are one of the unique exterior features.
Another interesting fact about the temple is its size. It is said that the length of every side of the building equals the size of one hundred steps. True or not the Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim is definitely one of the biggest Islamic temples in Central Europe and the biggest preserved Islamic temple in Hungary.
Islamic and Christian elements and their interlacement across the exterior and the interior of the mosque are the real reason this is one of the architectural surpluses of today`s time. One storey octagon drum is full of traditionally shaped arc windows that give just enough light for the visitor to admire the interesting combination of old Islamic prayer niche (mihrab) and Christian altar, to read the poems from the 16th century Quran or to admire the frescos with Christian motives. Sign made as a combination of a half-moon and cross is dedicated to peaceful coexistence of both religions and is proudly welcoming the visitors on top of the dome.
Interestingly the mosque was an Islamic religious temple for less than two hundred years. It was in the beginning of the 18th century when the mosque was transformed into a Christian church and renamed as the Downtown Candlemas Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today the Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim remains a Christian religious temple, but is mostly known as one of the most important tourist attractions in Pécs.
Visitors are welcomed to see the interior of the mosque, to discover the secrets of underground tombs and to spend time in the interactive room which shows detailed history and construction of the building.