We usually do not cover the churches of Pécs. The reason is simple: there are plenty of them, most of them have a similarly interesting background story, beautiful architecture and a vivid setting. And their are very important during the city’s whole history. To proove that, I only have to mention the German name of Pécs that is Fünfkirchen, meaning five churches in English. Acknowledging their importance, we just don’t have the space to write about them all. But this time I’m going to be a little bit unfair with the others and tell the story of the church that is above them all. Literally. And this is the church of Havihegy.
It may not be the biggest of the temples of Pécs, but certainly there is something about it. When approaching the city from Harkány the all white building on the all white cliff can be easily spotted thanks to it color and its setting. It sits on the top a limestone cliff called also Havihegy, that is also the name of the whole district. The cliff had several names prior to that for example Kakasdomb (translated: roosterhill), but got its final name certainly after 1691 since this was the year when the black death left Pécs and the story of the church began.
During the plague the citizens of Pécs made an oath that if the terrible disease disappers they are going to build a new temple. The legend says that the grateful people transported all the building materials with their very own hands to the top of the cliff. No wonder that it took seven years to build.
The temple was inaugurated in 1698 and made even bigger in 1710 but after a fire the whole furnishing had to be exchanged. It got its final form that can be seen today after that, in 1780.
Another intersing fact is that there are three different crucifixes around the temple and each of them is symbolizing something else. The most well known is also the latest one. The one thaz looks down on Tettye. Here, the pose of Jesus is the most tragic of them all, you can almost feel the pain. The structure is a replacement since the original has been destroyed in th 1960s when three youngster tried to impress a girl. After a night of partying they knocked over the original cruxifix that stood there for more than 200 years.
The church has a very engaged community, every Sunday the masses are celebrated with a full house. Havihegy temple has its own celebration in August when believers come from everywhere.