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The Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)

The underground sepulchresPécsPécs region

The early Christian sepulchres were discovered on the southern slopes of the Mecsek mountain range in the north-western part of the town near Pécs Cathedral. The archaeological site of the 4th century sepulchres has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 30 November 2000.

Sopianae – the Roman settlement on which the town of Pécs was built – was founded in the early 2nd century. In 100 years, it would grow into a thriving city and a significant centre of Christianity.

Chapels and crypts

The complex comprises two sections: the underground part is a crypt where the deceased were placed in brick tombs or in sarcophagi. The tombs were often decorated with biblical scenes and early Christian symbols. The second section is a memorial chapel, erected above the crypt. These two-storey structures served both as burial sites for the nobility and locations for burial ceremonies.


The unearthed sepulchres were originally numbered by the archaeologists for identification using Roman numerals, but some of them got to be known by names, referring to their interior mural paintings.

Discovered in 1782, Burial Chamber No. I – or the Peter & Paul Tomb – is regarded as the best-known early Christian structure in Pannonia, the Roman province in today’s western Hungary. Its northern wall is decorated with a mural depicting the apostles Peter and Paul (hence the name of the chamber) pointing at a Christogram: the symbol of Jesus Christ. The interior of the crypt boasts lavish decorations of biblical scenes and ornamental patterns. Burial Chamber No. II – or the “Wine Pitcher” Chamber – was also discovered in the 18th century, during the construction of an extensive cellar system under Pécs. A niche was built in the northern wall of the chamber, where a wine pitcher and a glass were painted. The walls of the crypt are decorated with geometrical patterns, floral and lattice motifs.



Discovered in 1975, the early Christian Mausoleum was the largest building in the Roman town of Sopianae. It comprises two levels: a chapel on the ground level and a crypt beneath. The murals on the crypt walls depict the fall of Adam and Eve and other early Christian iconography, including a Christogram. The Mausoleum is believed to have been built in the 370s AD.


Built over 1,600 years ago, the early Christian necropolis of Pécs provides a remarkable example of late Roman burial practices and funerary cult. The early Christian sepulchres of Pécs are regarded as the largest single Christian tomb complex outside Italy.


The visitor centre includes the Mausoleum, six two-storey burial chambers and two larger, single-space buildings.





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