Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gellert Hill, Budapest

Gellert Hill is named after an Italian bishop who was martyred in this area in the 11th century. After King Istvan (St. Stephen) adopted Christianity as his religion (thereby making it the state religion), he enlisted the aid of missionary bishop Gellert. The king died heirless. During the struggle for power immediately after his death, some of the pagans nailed Bishop Gellert into a spiked barrel and threw him down from the hill. A statue on the Buda side of the Elizabeth Bridge commemorates this early martyr. Jacob naturally liked the waterfall just below the statue.

Gellert Statue over a waterfall

Nearby at the base of the hill is the Hotel Gellert. Built in the early 1900s, it is an attractive spot to stay. Hotel residences can use the neighboring baths for free.

Hotel Gellert

Across the street from the hotel is the Chapel in the Rock or the Cave Church. Built in 1926 for the Pauline Order, it was closed up and sealed off by the communist government.

Hard to get a good shot from the bus

A cryptic statue is right above the church. I discovered that St. Stephen is on the other side, so it's a statue of St. Stephen with his horse, though only the horse is visible from down by the river.

I've heard of a horse with no name, but no rider?

Also above the chapel is a cross. Just to the left of the cross is the Liberty Statue. Originally created by an admiral in memory of his son who died in World War II, the Soviets added a palm of victory to the statue and called it the Liberation Statue. After communism was overthrown, it was renamed the Liberty Statue.

Liberty Statue and Chapel of the Rock Cross

The Liberty Statue is in a complex called the Citadella, built by the Hapsburgs after the failed 1848 rebellion in Hungary. Our bus made a brief stop there and we admired the view from the top of the hill.

Parliament in the distance

The area is flanked by two bridges. One is the Freedom Bridge. The other is the Elizabeth Bridge, named after the beloved empress from the 1800s.

Freedom Bridge by the Gellert Hotel

Elizabeth Bridge by the Gellert Memorial

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