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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Details

Founded: 19th century
Category: Religious sites in Hungary

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

tan weekiat (2 years ago)
This place looked interesting enough from the outside but we did not go in
mohamad alrefaie (2 years ago)
Amazing view , which you would see the river and golden bridge and the city There was a fee to enter about 1000 huf
Cristian Garcia (3 years ago)
I was fortunate enough to come here exactly on dec 25th and join the Christmas mass. It was in Hungarian but the feeling was the same. The place is unique and well kept. I couldn’t believe I was being part of the Christmas mass on the catacombs
Jeroen Spee (3 years ago)
It was interesting too see this little church inside a cave. There is an auditor available for a decent price. But the stories that are told are a bit long. Besides that's it's nice for a short visit if you are nearby.
Moira Corcoran (3 years ago)
The church itself was really interesting, but the museum portion at the beginning was a bit odd. It was a neat little space--worth the 600 HUF entrance fee, which included the tour. If you're on that side of Budapest, it's worth checking out. I would not consider the building to be incredibly accessible for people with limited mobility and there is a very, very steep hill leading up to the entrance.
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