Gellért Hill Cave

Budapest, Hungary

The Gellért Hill Cave is part of a network of caves within Gellért Hill. The cave is also referred to as 'Saint Ivan's Cave', regarding a hermit who lived there and is believed to have used the natural thermal water of a muddy lake next to the cave to heal the sick.

In the 19th century the cave was inhabited by a poor family who built a small adobe house in the great opening. The mouth of the cave was closed off with a planking and it was used as a peasant courtyard. This situation was recorded on a painting by Mihály Mayr (made sometime in the 1860s) and a photograph by György Klösz in 1877.

The first modern entrance for the caves was constructed in the 1920s by a group of Pauline monks who have been inspired by similar rock constructions during a pilgrimage in Lourdes, France. Kálmán Lux, professor at the Budapest University of Technology was the architect in charge. After its consecration in 1926, it served as a chapel and monastery until 1951. During this time, it also served as a field hospital for the army of Nazi Germany during World War II.

In 1945, the Soviet Red Army captured Budapest. For six years, the cave continued its religious functions, but in 1951, the State Protection Authority raided the chapel as part of increasing action against the Catholic Church. As a result of the raid, the cave was sealed, the monastery's superior, Ferenc Vezér, was condemned to death, and the remaining brothers were imprisoned for upwards of ten years.

As the Iron Curtain disintegrated, the chapel reopened on 27 August 1989 with the destruction of the thick concrete wall that had sealed the cave. By 1992, the Chapel had been restored and the Pauline Order had returned to the cave. Today, the monks continue to perform religious functions within, though the cave is also a common tourist attraction. The church is complemented by a mysterious monastery carved into the rock and decorated with striking neo-gothic turrets. The walls of the cave is formed of all-natural living rock. The church features many rooms, worthy of attention is the one in which all the ornaments have been carved in hardwood by a faithful follower of the Pauline Order. The terrace in front of the entrance is proudly guarded by the statue of Saint Stephen standing besides his horse.



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Founded: 19th century
Category: Religious sites in Hungary

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User Reviews

Bea Rimini (45 days ago)
The place is beautiful but the audioguide is awful!!! It does not tell you the story of this church in the rock, they only try to convert you. I was falling asleep during the visit...ticket 2.50€
Despina Deli (3 months ago)
It’s beautiful. But I would not recommend it. The information in hearing device are funny in the beginning and then too much information. The place is small you just see it in two minutes and leave. There churches like these everywhere. Also the maps point is wrong
Alex Crisp (6 months ago)
A very beautiful church that is inside of a cave! I haven’t seen anything like it and it looks absolutely amazing. Gellért Hill Cave even offers student discount on entry, which I really appreciated as it made our visit so cheap. The man at the front was really friendly and kind and gave us audio guides to take us through the history of the cave church in English. The place itself is beautiful and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in Budapest.
Heimdal Odinson (7 months ago)
What a wonderful place this is I believe it is very sacred to the Hungarian people to . Budapest in my humble opinion is a fantastic city. A city fuĺ of contrast rich to poor religious to atheist strong to weak . But this has to be my favourite place here . So peaceful and beautiful . I have never been the brightest spark in the world but there must be something special about this place there just must be . St Paul's cave in Malta and here have helped me for one find peace, Walsingham, too . Thank you Hungary for letting me visit . The UK in my opinion could learn a lot from you . No litter clean streets polite people and a feeling of safety . A city I would love to live in , if only I could understand what you were saying . Joke don't arrest me . I have learnt that St Stephen wasn't only the first Catholic Saint but also the first king of hungary. A bit drunk and rambling but I thoughraly enjoyed my visit to your capital . I have a hungarian friend in the uk who is really cool , I can now see why . Thank you again for a great holiday.
Weam Banjar (7 months ago)
A breath taking. You may need to read about it before paying a visit. The place is very divine. Garden is very nice. I enjoyed climbing around it. Bring your water.
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