After exploring Budapest’s iconic sights and Castle Hill sights, we ventured further south along the Danube River to Gellert Hill, the tallest hill in central Budapest at 771 feet. The hill is named for Bishop Gellert, a monk who was brought to Hungary in the year 1000 by King Istvan to aid in converting people to Christianity. According to legend, a group of those opposing that plan captured Gellert, sealed him in a barrel and rolled him down the hill to his death.
Rather than a plethora of sights to see, there are only a few tourist attractions on Gellert Hill: Cave Church, Liberty Statue, the Citadel and panoramic views. The sights are connected by hiking paths shrouded in trees, which offer a touch of nature in the heart of the city. The Gellert Thermal Baths are at the base of the hill and many statues are found along the paths. The hill is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Banks of the Danube River.
Gellert Hill: Cave Church
Transformed into a church in the 1920s, the Cave Church is under the care of the Pauline Order and the monks live in the nearby hillside monastery, topped with turrets. During the communist era, the entrances to the church were sealed with concrete and monks were imprisoned. The church was restored in the early 1990s and is now open for masses and tours.
Gellert Hill: Liberty Statue
The 45 foot tall statue of a woman holding a palm leaf overhead, representing peace, sits on an 85 foot tall pedestal and is visible from most points along the river. The inscription reads: To the memory of those all who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom and prosperity of Hungary. Two other statues sit at the base, one of a man slaying a dragon, which represents the defeat of fascism.
Gellert Hill: Citadel and viewpoints
The building, which the Habsburgs constructed in 1851 to both show their power and as a lookout over Buda and Pest, is rather plain. The real sight is to look away from the citadel for the panoramic views over Budapest to both the north and south.
We want to know: Have you been to Gellert Hill in Budapest? What did you think of the views from the top? Tell us in the comments!