Budapest: Gellért-hegy

Budapest from Gellért-hegy

Another day, another bridge! This time we crossed the Danube from Pest to Buda via the Szabadság Bridge to Gellért-hegy (Gellért Hill).

Ahead of us, we could see our two destinations: the Cave Church and the Liberation Monument on top of the hill.

Outside the Cave Church is another statue of the ubiquitous St Stephen and a great view back to the bridge we had just walked across.

The Cave Church, created in the 1930s, is a higgledy-piggledy warren of passages and small chapels where masses are conducted by monks of the Pauline Order.

Climbing beyond the church, the views became even better.

At the top, we admired the Liberation Monument from all angles. It was originally erected to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who liberated Budapest from the Nazis, but after the fall of communism its inscription was rewritten to honour all those who died for Hungary’s prosperity.

The Citadella, which you can just glimpse behind the monument in one of the pictures, was built to reassert Hapsburg dominance after the revolution of 1848-9. After walking round it to admire the views on all sides, we set off down the other side of the hill.

This took us past the statue of St Gellért, after whom the hill is named.  Gellért was a Christian missionary in the time of St Stephen and, after Stephen died, pagans apparently threw him off the hill at this very point. Today, he brandishes his crucifix at all comers.

The path down the hill deposits you at a complicated road system leading to the Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Bridge which we would use to cross back to Pest later. A statue of Empress Elizabeth (1837-98) sits on a central island.

Navigating our way across the road, we arrived in the Tabán district. Large figures were advertising an exhibition about the First World War, but we headed next door to the Semmelweis Medical Museum.

Dr Ignác Semmelweis (1818-65) discovered the cause of puerperal fever, which was usually fatal, thus saving the lives of many women in childbirth. Good man! I also liked the Holy Ghost Pharmacy which dates from 1786 (though not on this site), the opium pillow (how comfortable could that be? Don’t you mind if you’re taking opium?) and the portrait of Zsuzsanna Kossuth, sister of the revolutionary leader and National Head Nurse during the 1848-9 War of Independence.

After a final stroll around the area, we headed back to our hotel for our last night in Budapest.

Just one more post to complete my Budapest holiday diary!


  1. Wow! Did we go to the same city? I’m afraid we didn’t see any of these things. We purposely didn’t go to the Citadel, but focused on Castle Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion, etc. We spent one full day going on a Danube Bend cruise to Esztergom and Visegrad. So much to do and see!


  2. Hi Anabel! Sorry I’ve disappeared. It has been quite an hectic few weeks. I’m trying to catch up with everything, but so many things still ask for my attention.
    But I’m determined to go back to my friends’ blogs 😉

    Really really liked the highlights of this posts. I’ve never imagined Budapest to be such a grandeaur city.
    Give my current interests, I don’t think I’d miss the WWI exibition, but that medical museum also sounds so very interesting.


  3. Was just idly scrolling around on WordPress, when I found your post. Really glad you enjoyed it here, and yes, Budapest – and especially Gellért Hill – is a truly magical place.


  4. I’ve always felt bad for Semmelweis, because no one listened to him about the importance of handwashing, and he died in an asylum shortly after being committed. There are probably so many thousands of lives that could have been saved in the interim between Semmelweis and Lister if doctors had just washed their damn hands. I’d love to visit his museum though!


  5. An extra gold star for any city for me is one with a major river flowing through its centre, urban hills for views over the districts, interesting bridges and history… so Budapest seems to tick all the boxes.


  6. Hi Anabel – your photos are so good and the history … fascinating – I keep hearing about Budapest, apart from Patrick Leigh Fermor!, I really have to get over and see it … cheers Hilary