Pápa is a historical town in Veszprém county, Hungary, located close to the northern edge of the Bakony Hills, and noted for its baroque architecture. With its 33,000 inhabitants, it is the cultural, economic and tourism centre of the region. Pápa is one of the centres of the Reformed faith in Transdanubia, as the existence of numerous ecclesiastical heritage sites and museums suggest. Due to the multitude of heritage buildings the centre of the town is now protected. Pápa has a large historical centre, with renovated old burgher's houses, cafes, and museums, including the Blue-Dyeing Museum (Kékfestő Múzeum), set up in a former factory which produced clothes and other textiles dyed with indigo blue under a unique method. The town is also noted for its thermal baths, particularly a newly constructed swimming complex, the Esterházy family's palace, its grand Roman Catholic church, and Calvinist secondary school; the town is an important religious centre. It also boasts a large park near the centre of town. The town has been the main center of trade in the wines of the Somló wine region. Pápa was an administrative regional capital from 1945 to 1983.
On 18 November 2007, Pápa Air Base was selected to host 3-4 C-17 NATO Globemasters. This is expected to create 500 jobs in the area.
It is a historic town first mentioned in records in 1061. Its importance and development is proved by the fact that in the 14th century the town was given civic privileges and at the beginning of the next century it became a market-town. The town evolved from the 11 villages that occupied the current territory of the town during the Middle Ages. Large landowning families and various religious orders played an important role in the development of Pápa as a city: the Franciscans settled here in 1475 and the Paulines in 1638. In the late Middle Ages it was the most important centre of Protestantism in Transdanubia. Reform doctrines swept in at the start of the Reformation. The first Hungarian translation of the Catechism of Heidelberg was printed in 1577. Thus, after Sopron and Sárvár , this town became the third most important centre of Protestantism in Transdanubia. A Reformed Church school operated here as early as in 1531, which was later expanded with a faculty of theology and an academy of law. The castle of Pápa already stood in the 15th century, and in Turkish times it became part of the system of border fortresses. Construction of the current town centre began in the late 18th century, when it looked surprisingly similar to how it does today, hence its heritage protection status. The castle was converted into a palace, the lake that used to protect the castle from the east was drained, and a monumental church was built on the main square. Jews were permitted to settle in 1748, which helped Pápa to grow into a regional trade centre. By the 19th century, Hungary's third most significant Jewish community had gathered and the third largest synagogue was built here in 1846. Between 1929 and 1945 Pápa was a county town and from 1945 to 1983 a district town. The Jewish population, numbering about 1250 people before the Second World War, was almost completely exterminated during the Holocaust. World War II caused immeasurable losses. The palace and the synagogue were severely damaged, the archives were destroyed, and very few members of the large Jewish community survived. Pápa won the János Hild memorial medal in 1989 for restoration work in the town. After the change of the system the Reform church and educational traditions were reawakened: a new grammar school was built, the Reformed College recommenced its activities and higher education began once again. A symbol of the town is the Great Church in the Main square, which was built according to the plans of Jakab Fellner between 1774 and 1786. It was decorated with frescoes by Franz Anton Maulbertsch. The 'white church' in the Main street built by the Paulites, later home of the Benedictine order, was completed by 1744. Its furnishing is valuable decorated with unique wood-carving. The 17th century so called 'Black Christ' can be found in its parvis. The Franciscan church is in Barát street, it was built between 1678 and 1680. Pápa has been the centre of the Transdanubian Reformed Church: its famous college was founded in 1531. Its spirituality has had a significant role in the life of the town since then. The population is largely descendants of German settlers, who came here mostly in the 18th century. Pápa is considered to be a school town. The present building of the college was built between 1895 and 1899. Today a secondary school of six and four classes and the Pápa Reformed Collection (library, archives, museum) can be found there. The Old college is in Petőfi Sándor street, beside it there is a plaque on Sándor Petőfi's one-time house. The Calvinist old church houses the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Religious Art. The famous Museum of Blue-dyeing is opposite the Calvinist College. The blue-dyeing workshop of the Kluge family was one of the most significant in Central Europe. It worked until 1956, its original furnishings and equipment can be seen even today. Next to the hospital you can find the Gránátalma (pomegranate) Pharmacy, which is also a pharmacy museum. In the town and in the town centre you can find several other important restored monument buildings in their original forms. The town was awarded the Hill-coin for creating a beautiful townscape in 1989. Another important building of the Main square is the building complex of the Esterházy-mansion, the park of which is a nature conservation area. The reading hall of the library in the mansion was awarded the Europa Nostra-prize after the restoration of the former mansion chapel. The frescoes on the ceiling are especially valuable. The restoration of the baroque mansion started in 2000 and works are still underway. Apart from the baroque mansion and the Great Church in the Main square, the town is also proud of its baroque dwelling houses. In the historical part of the town there is a considerable number of monuments and locally protected buildings.