Gellért Hill in the heart of Budapest not only attracts visitors with its trails through secluded forests, but also has some extremely interesting historical sights to offer.
Located in the Buda district on the banks of the Danube, Gellért Hill is right next to the famous Castle Hill and is one of Budapest's idyllic sights. With an altitude of 235 meters, Gellért-hegy between the Elisabethand Freedom brid ges offers relaxing walks and fantastic views of the nearby Castle Palace, the Danube with its bridges and the Pest district. The wonderfully green area is one of our top 10 Budapest sights.
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Gellért mountain as a block mountain
At the beginning of the 18th century, Gellért Hill was also known as "Blocksberg" as a meeting place for witches. The inhabitants of Budapest may have come to this superstition because of the large St. Iván Cave in the southeast of Gellért Hill, since sulfur vapors have always risen here on its flanks.
Rock monastery on Gellért Hill
At the foot of the southern slope near the Liberty Bridge is a monastery of the Pauline Fathers, which was carved directly into the mountain in 1926. Modeled after the chapel at Lourdes, the monastery was built in a natural cave that was enlarged by blasting in the 1930s. Admission is free and the rock church is still in operation. A visit to the underground devotional rooms with rough-hewn walls is definitely worthwhile!
On the other side of the Freedom Bridge is the renowned Gellért Hotel with the traditional Gellért Bath, known for its healing properties. From nearby Szent Gellért tér, the square of Saint Gellért, you can also take a bus to the top of Gellért Hill.
Sights at Gellért Hill
Gellért Hill can be climbed from several sides via stairs and paths, and is covered with a network of walking trails that lead between dense forests and inviting benches to various sights. The higher you climb, the more fantastic the view over Budapest becomes.
Gellért Hill got its name from the martyr bishop Gellért, who, according to a legend, was thrown into the Danube in a wooden barrel from Gellért Hill by pagan Hungarians in the 11th century. The monument was completed after a donation by the German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1904. A natural spring rises below the monument and flows in a small waterfall to a fountain at the end of the Elisabeth Bridge.
Statue of Liberty
In fact, Budapest also has a Statue of Liberty! It was erected in 1947 and commemorates the fallen soldiers of the Russian Red Army, which conquered Budapest in 1945 and liberated Hungary from German occupation. The Freedom Monument is visible from all over Budapest.
On the highest point of Gellért Hill sits a citadel that was once built to fortify Budapest. Even today you can walk through the venerable walls and marvel at the historic guns. Numerous exhibitions both above and below ground in the former German bunkers tell of Hungary's wartime days. Lots of souvenir stands and stores are waiting for the visitors, who especially want to enjoy the magnificent view from Gellért Hill.
The view is indeed breathtaking, falling not only on the nearby Castle Hill with the monumental Castle Palace, but over the Danube with the Liberty and Elizabeth Bridges and far across the Pest district, from whose sea of roofs rise the domes of the Parliament and St. Stephen's Basilica, each 96m high.