The Episcopal Palace and the “Secret passage”
The foundations of the building containing the episcopal offices and drawing rooms were laid in the 12th century, though the style has changed in accordance with the architectural and interior fashions. With the uniquely decorated Baroque, Biedermeier, neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque furniture, paintings and accessories, the rooms demonstrate the lives of the many bishops that have occupied the palace. In addition to the tapestries donated by Maria Theresa, that date back to the end of the 17th century, the episcopal portraits and the large, 18th century oil paintings depicting scenes from the Old Testament, make our visit even more memorable.
The tunnel that connects the garden of the Episcopal Palace with the Granary has a remarkable history stretching back to the Middle Ages, yet it regained a special role in the latter part of the 20th century, under the hostile period of the anti-clerical state socialism. During this time the episcopal residency and its gardens were installed with numerous bugging devices, therefore it was also used as a secure underground path. On a lighter note, the western wing of the passage did serve as a wine cellar during these years. A tunnel with such a significant past is a truly exceptional environment to demonstrate the dark and dangerous days of Communist religious persecutions.
Only those who have purchased a ticket to enter the Palace may be able to visit this exhibition, as part of a guided tour.
The Episcopal Wine Cellar
The 18th century wine cellar formed part of the contemporary episcopal residency and it was known as the “main cellar” of the demesne. Visitors can catch sight of the original cellar barrels and may taste the wines they produce in the vast, two-storey room that reaches deep into the ground. The cellar system puts both the richness of one of the oldest wine producing regions of Hungary and the historic wine culture of the Diocese of Pécs into a historical perspective.