The former Jesuit church, priory and grammar school
The former Jesuit church, priory and grammar school are dominant features defining the current appearance of the city’s main street. After the Turkish occupation, the mosques were converted to Christian churches; therefore, in 1687, Jesuits arriving in the city also settled in a former mosque building. The building complex of their own church was designed by a Jesuit architect, István Pethő. The foundation stone of the church was laid on 31 July 1700, which event marked the start of the construction of the priory only. The construction soon had to be suspended, because in 1705, Ferenc II Rákóczi captured the city with his troops. The order had to leave, because a papal bull banned them from joining the rebellion. The priory was completed only in 1727, almost three decades after breaking ground. During this time, Bernát P. Geyer took over the supervision of construction from István Pethő, and finally the task was assumed by Giovanni Battista Carlone in 1716. The construction of the church only started around 1730, and was successfully completed in 1743.
The interior furnishings of the church also required a lot of time to build, and were only completed in 1772. One year later, on the basis of a papal bull issued by Pope Clement XIV, Maria Theresa expelled the Jesuit Order from the empire; therefore, the brothers had to leave their church that had been just completed. Their treasures were transported to Buda, and the buildings were given over to the Cistercian Order (the Cistercian Convent of Pásztó).
The first repairs took place in 1792, and later the entire building complex burned down in the great fire of 1800. Until 1857, repair works were completed after several minor natural disasters, and the complex was renovated in 1888. Finally, reconstruction and conversion took place between 1900 and 1902 based on the plans of Ignác Alpár.
The gateposts of the driveway situated in front of the church and the priory feature the statutes of two archangels, St. John of Nepomuk and St. Joseph. The rococo-style recesses adorning the façade of the church accommodate the statutes of four Jesuit saints: St. Ignatus of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis Regis and St. Stanislaus Kostka. The fathers built their grammar school in 1754. The western axis of the pedimented facade features an ornamental gate with puttos holding coat of arms. The second storey of the building features stucco-framed rococo niches with the following statutes: St. Ignatius and St. Louis Gonzaga in the two outside axes, and a Maria Immaculata statue in the middle axis, slightly above.