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The history of our university and School

At the headquarters of our university, the Pannonian Celtic peoples built a castle surrounded by walls and a moat. The city, founded in Roman times during the reign of Trajan (98-117), was called Sopianae, which, under the reign of Diocletian (284-305), was the provincial capital of Valeria in Lower Pannonia. The excavated Roman remains indicate a large and beautiful city. The underground tombs date back to the Christian Roman era, in the 3rd century Pannonia (borders: Danube-Sava-Alps) was among the 8 localities that had a church, and under Constantine (306-337) it was an episcopal city.

In the first centuries of Christianity, Sopianae was an important station, guard post of this worldwide teaching. Attila’s Huns and the armies of at least half a dozen peoples had swept through it until Christian South Slavs settled in the area as well. At the end of the 8th century, Emperor Charles the Great (768-814) defeated the Avars, and around 865, Salzburg archbishop Liupramm consecrated a church at the foot of the Mecsek. The term "ad Quinque (martirum) basilicas" appears in the notes on this subject, which, according to some assumptions, later became the name Quinque Ecclesiae, which in the language of German-speaking medieval citizens is Fünfkirchen, in Hungarian it is Pécs (perhaps from the Slavic word “pety” meaning five).

King Stephen founded an episcopate in the city in 1000, which had been one of the bastions of medieval Hungarian Christian culture since then.

Its fundamentally Árpádian-era cathedral, rebuilt several times, is one of the most beautiful Neo-Romanesque churches in Europe today. Over the centuries, it has developed into the largest (and one of the most significant) cities in the country. Our King Louis the Great (1342-1382) not only managed his conquering military plans from here, but also carried out his mission of cultural diffusion. Thus, following in the footsteps of his father, King Charles Robert and according to the intentions of the great Italian poet Petrarch as well, he founded the first university in Hungary in 1367, almost at the same time as the famous, still operating Central European universities (Prague, Krakow, Vienna). The intellectual condition was certainly the many hundreds of Hungarian students who had studied above all at Italian universities (giving rectors, famous professors to the two best-known Italian universities, Bologna and Padua), and the material condition was the wealth that Hungary had under our Anjou kings. It is no coincidence that it was the favoured place of residence of several of our kings, such as Louis the Great and Mátyás Hunyadi, and the great ruler, the Turkish sultan Suleiman also called the city of Pécs a “paradise on earth”.

The faculty

The predecessor of the University of Pécs Medical School was the Medical University of Pécs (POTE) which, from 1 February 1951 to 31 December 1999 operated as an independent institution. The historical predecessor of POTE was the Royal Hungarian Elizabeth University of Sciences established and sanctified by law in Bratislava on 7 June 1912, and the Medical Faculty of this university, founded on 14 April 1918. The university and the faculty had to escape from the coronation city the following year and after nearly half a decade of wandering in the capital, they arrived at the foot of the Mecsek. On 14 October 1923 education started with the official opening ceremony in the three faculties in Pécs with a board of professors, the half of whom were academicians. In 1923 the fourth faculty, the Faculty of Evangelic Theology was established, and it operated in Sopron.

In the first quarter of the century (1923-1947) and in the following third of the century such famous professors had been teaching at the Medical Faculty of the Elizabeth University of Sciences in Pécs as: Bakay, Heim, Entz, Mansfeld, Imre, Zechmeister, Melczer, Császár, Környey, Kerpel, Lissák, then Ernst, Cholnoky, Oravecz, Donhoffer, Schmidt, Kudász, Szentágothai, Romhányi, and Grastyán.

The first big, extensive development plans in the history of the medical university had been created in the 1950s, based on which the 400-bed clinical block (1966) and the central building (1970) were constructed.

In the 1973/74 academic year the dentistry program was launched with 25 students and the English Program began a decade later, with 36 students from a dozen countries. POTE became a two-faculty institution in 1990 when the healthcare college training was launched. On 1 January 2000, POTE was united with the Janus Pannonius University and with the Illyés Gyula Teacher Training College in Szekszárd, and the University of Pécs was established with ten faculties.

The history of the theoretical building of our School

The establishment of the independent Hungarian defence forces was ordered in 1868, a board of officers was a particular necessity. The Academy Ludovika established in Pest could not meet the requirement to train the officers. At the end of the century, the shortage of officers was around 1,000, therefore the law signed by the Minister of Defence Géza Fejérváry in 1897 ordered that three more schools must be established. Pécs, Sopron and Nagyvárad were also among the possible locations. The famous Hungarian architect, Ignác Alpár was appointed to design the buildings.

For the construction of the cadet school, the city of Pécs designated a significant area of about 20 acres next to the Szigeti highway. The price of the plots was paid jointly by the city and the state, the construction was financed by the state.

The neo-baroque style, three-story, monumental main building was E-shaped. It was built to train 400 students and included 160 rooms. The dining rooms and rooms for the entertainment of the students such as the dance and singing room, the pool room, the lounge and the reading room were on the ground floor, while behind the entrance and the staircase, a gym, and fencing and target shooting rooms were set up. The classrooms were located on the first floor, the bedrooms, each with 20-30 beds, the assembly hall and the chapel were on the second and third floors. On the right side of the main building, another residential building was built for the officers and their families, and on the left side, a building for the crew and an annex were built, the latter with a laundry room, warehouses, and the prison.

The building was complete within a year, in August 1898.

The Cadet School was transferred to the West of Hungary in 1918 and it could only move back to Pécs in 1922, after the Serbian occupation. Its name was frequently changed depending on the international, political and war conditions. In 1956 the buildings and the associated lands were handed over to the Medical University of Pécs (POTE). First, the 400-bed clinic had been built in the northern part, then in 1965, the conversion of the existing buildings for the theoretical institutes of POTE began based on the plans of Pál Borosnyai. The former neo-baroque main building was converted into a modern building with a flat roof and a rectangular floor plan.

In November 1970, the building of the former Cadet School, remodelled inside and out, was handed over, which has been functioning as the theoretical building of POTE, then, since 2000, the University of Pécs Medical School on Szigeti Street 12.