Gellert Hill is one of the most popular attractions of Budapest, the historical hill offers an amazing panorama of the riverside attractions of Budapest and several interesting places to visit such as the Citadel or the Cave Church.
The cave system of Gellert Hill was made by the natural spring waters in the area. Several caves can be found inside Gellert hill, but most of them are closed for the public. The cave of St Ivan (The Cave Church or ) can be visited, it is open almost every day.
History of the Cave Church
According to the legend, a hermit, St Ivan used to live in this cave, he performed miracles and healed the sick with the spring waters and mud found in the nearby water sources. This spring is believed to be the same that provides the thermal waters of Gellert Spa. The charming early 20th-century church has rich history.
In the 19th century a poor family inhabited the cave and built a tiny house from sun-dried blocks at the entrance area. In 1920, the cave was reconstructed and expanded by Pauline monks who were inspired by a similar rock construction during a pilgrimage in Lourdes, France.
During the World War II, Gellert Hill cave was used as a hospital and asylum for the German army, before the communist rule in 1945. The Pauline monks were allowed to inhabit the cave and practice their faith until 1951 when communists assaulted them and killed their leader Ferenc Vezer. The remaining monks were imprisoned for a decade.
The entrance of the Cave Church was sealed with a concrete wall and it was opened again almost 40 years later in 1989, when the Iron Curtain fell. The Pauline monks returned and restored the monastery, the church has reopened in 1991 and it can be visited during the day or at holy Mass times.
Nowadays, we can find 2 Thermal baths at the feet of Gellert Hill. Gellert Spa or Rudas Baths are offering great opportunities to soak in the warm spring waters and feel the healing effects of the natural spring waters.