JUL 27,2011 - JUL 27,2011 (1 DAYS)
Circular walk from Pest to Gellért Hill, Újbuda and Lágymányos:
Main attractions: Deák Ferenc tér, Ferenciek tere, Klotild Palace, Párizsiudvar, The Inner city Franciscan church / The Kárpátia restaurant, Március 15. tér (March 15 Square), Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth bridge), Rudas Baths, Döbrentei tér, statue of St. Gellért, (Szt Gellért Szobor), Gellért Hill lookout viewpoint, The Citadel (Citadella), The Hungarian Statue of Liberty (Szabadsag Szobor), Szent Gellért rkp., Szazabad hid (Liberty/Liberation bridge), Szent Gellért tér (Gellért Square), Danubius Hotel Gellért, Gellért Hill Cave and church (Gellérthegyi Barlang) (Sziklatemplom), Móricz Zsigmond körtér (Móricz Zsigmond square), The Church of Szentimreváros or the Parish Church of St. Imre, Feneketlen tó (Lake without a bed) (bottomless lake), Október huszonharmadika utca, Lágymányos Info / Science Park, Petőfi híd or Petőfi Bridge, Budapest Technical University (Budapesti Műszaki Egyetem), Central Market Hall ("Nagycsarnok"), Váci utca (Váci street), Kristóf tér, Vörösmarty tér, Deák Ferenc tér.
Tip 1: From Deák Ferenc tér to Gellért Hill (north and south).
Tip 2: Gellért Hotel Baths.
Tip 3: From Danubius Hotel Gellért back to Pest centre via the southern parts of Buda.
Start and End: Deák Ferenc tér.
Distance: 13-15 km.
Duration: 1 day.
Orientation: we walk from Pest centre to the Gellért Hill at the Buda side. Most of the walk is in open spaces. So, reserve the route for a fine day. In the Buda side most of the itinerary is hiking (climbing up ) along the hill slopes. You'll enjoy the wonderful scenery, the panorama of the Danube and Pest from the hill heights, the flower beds along the paths of Gellért Hill and its statues and other monuments. This route includes historic sights on top of the the hill and some of the best spots to take photos of the city. The second half of the day is along the southern parts of Buda - a mixture of old and modern architecture. In the late hours of the afternoon we walk back to Pest through several iconic landmarks of Budapest: the Danube and 2 or 3 of its bridges, the Garnd Market, Váci utca and Vörösmarty tér. It is a long walking day in open spaces.
Weather: Avoid this route in a rainy or very hot day. The ascent to Gellért Hill is quite demanding. Your sole shelters are in: Danubius Hotel Gellért (and its baths) and Gellért Hill Cave and underground church.
Our first destination is Ferenciek tere. We take not-the-shortest route from Deák Ferenc tér. Head east on Deák Ferenc tér toward Károly krt.
60 m. Turn right to stay on Deák Ferenc tér, 45 m. Continue onto Károly krt, (Charles Boulevard) 300 m. This si one of the main thorough-fairs of central Budapest. Walk along the north side of the avenue, raise your head to catch the wondeful mosaics on top of most of the buildings - mainly, on the southern side of the Boulevard:
Turn right onto Vitkovics Mihály utca, 250 m. Continue onto Pilvax köz
110 m. Turn left onto Petőfi Sándor utca, 70 m (named after famous poet of the 1848/49 Revolution and War of Independence). Continue onto Ferenciek tere, 70 m. You can arrive to Ferenciek tere from Deák Ferenc tér by taking the Metro M3 (North-South) line. The square was formally named Kígyó tér in 1874, then renamed Apponyi tér (for Albert Apponyi) in 1921, then Felszabadulás tér (Liberation Square) in 1953, then its earlier name of Ferenciek tere in 1991. It is an important junction, as several bus lines from Buda pass though or terminate here. It is also the station closest to the geographical city centre of Budapest. The station's name was Felszabadulás tér ("Liberation" Square) before 1990. Other means of transporet to this square: Bus: 5, 7 (BKV bus line number 7 connects Pest and southern Buda), 8, 15, 107, 110, 112, 115, 133, 178, 233, 239. Tram: 2. Ferenciek tere (Franciscans’ Square) is right in the middle of the city. The square hosts an posh gourmet restaurants and the fashionable shopping avenue Váci utca opens from here. The square gets its name from the Franciscan Church located in this square, first built in 1743. Among its important sights: the twin buildings of the Klotild Palace (Hotel Buddha Bar), one on each side of the Kossuth Lajos utca, and the Párizsiudvar (Paris Court ) with its dazzling decorations. The Court under the building - once a shopping passage - boasts of a hall with a gorgeous mosaic-glass dome for a roof. The Franciscan Church, the Nereids’ Well, and the University Library are also worth your attention.
The National Scientific Library in the square:
Klotild Palace: Distinguished architects Kálmán Giergl and Flóris Korb were commissioned to design and construct the four-floored neo-baroque twin palaces in 1889-99. The unique historical building stands on the corner of Váci Street since 1900, being the first one to feature an elevator in Hungary. Cheesy shops were opened downstairs, offices for rent operated on the 1st floor, the 2nd 3rd and 4th floors made rooms for luxurious residences. During the siege of Budapest in 1945 the building was badly damaged. In 1950 the building interior was entirely redone. Around 1960 the facades were renovated. In autumn of 2003 Mérték Architectural Studio Ltd. got the assignment from Graziano Beghelli, who purchased the Klotild Development Ltd, to design the reconstruction and renovation of Klotild Palaces building II. The project took 8 years to finish. The unique historical building forms a perfect address for one of Hungary's most iconic boutique hotels, opened in June 2012 (Buddha Bar Hotel). According to a legend, the contractor of the 2 palaces named them after his daughters, in order not to mix them with each other while delivering materials to the construction site. The truth is that Maria Klotild was the name of the Austrian Princess who owned the site and ordered the constructions. The building Matild just got her name from the citizens of Budapest, most likely because of the similar sounding. These two palaces are almost mirror images of each other and were both designed in Spanish-baroque style. They both act like the gates of Pest and as the guards of Elisabeth Bridge:
Parisi udvar is an early 20th century French style department store that was long time in state of disrepair, and, now, is presently in state of renovation. A small hall with shops, the inner part of an eclectic building. Párisi udvar's main entrance lies at a central location along Ferenciek tere, one of Budapest's oldest squares. In 1817, at a time when the area was one of the busiest in the city, József Brudern decided to build a large store here. The building, known as Brudern-has (Brudern House), was designed by the Hungarian architect Mihály Pollack. Inside was a shopping arcade that was modeled after the Passage des Panoramas, a glass-covered passage in Paris. This was probably the reason why the house was also known as Párisi-haz (Paris House). In 1907 the Belváros Savings Bank acquired the property and organized a competition for the construction of its new, prestigious headquarters. They received forty-three submissions and a design by Flóris Korb and Kálmán Griegl was chosen as the winner. The bank's board of directors however decided to select a different architect, German-born Henrik Schmahl. Construction started in 1909 and the building was completed in 1913, one year after Schmahl's death. The new building, also called Brudern House, was mixed-use, with a sumptuous shopping arcade on the two lower levels and room for offices on the upper levels. The arcade was named Párisi udvar (Parisian Court) as a reference to the original arcade. Today it is often written as Párizsi udvar (Párisi is the old spelling). You can easily miss the entrance to the Párizsiudvar building as it seems closed at the first glance. Exterior of the Párizsiudvar building is gorgeous, even if it is run-down. You just need to find the entrance (it is on the left side, when you are looking from the main street). The building exterior is magnificent.
The interior is so beautiful, it must have had great atmosphere when it was still in use. Definitely try to walk inside of Parisi Udvar. It is full with beauty and atmosphere: beautiful exterior facade, stunning glass roof lantern, wood panels, curved glass shop fronts, marble, iron work.
The Inner city Franciscan church: A 13th century a monastery and church used to be on where the Inner City Franciscan Church stands today. The current Baroque shape dates back to the 18th century. The relief on the left side wall of the church commemorates the Great Flood of the river Danube in 1838. The relief is dedicated to Miklós Wesselényi, a real Hungarian hero. He was saving people by his boat from drowning in the river. Some frescoes are the works of Károly Lotz. The Baroque main altar and the statues decorating the altar are worth attention:
Kárpátia étterem: The Kárpátia restaurant, in this building, is a 140-year-old restaurant, which started to operate in the late 19th century and became popular among the citizens of Pest very soon. The restaurant was decorated in the 1920’s by different famous Hungarian artists (frescoes, windows and furniture):
Coming from Petőfi Sándor utca to Ferenciek tere - you turn TO THE RIGHT (south-west) at Ferenciek tere to Kossuth Lajos utca. Continue onto Szabad sajtó útca, 210 m. Continue onto Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth bridge) crossing the Danube from Pest to Buda. The bridge spans over the Danube at the narrowest part of the Danube in the Budapest area, spanning only 290 m. Elizabeth Bridge was named after Queen Elizabeth, the spouse of Francis Joseph I assassinated in Geneva in 1898. Today, her large bronze statue sits by the bridge's Buda side connection in the middle of a small garden (see later below). The original Erzsébet Bridge, along with many other bridges all over the country, was blown up at the end of World War II by retreating Wehrmacht sappers. The Elizabeth Bridge is the only Danube bridge in Budapest that would not be rebuilt after its destruction of World War II. Instead, a completely new bridge was built between 1960 and 1964, nearly two decades after the destruction of the original Elizabeth Bridge. the Elizabeth Bridge is the most elegant bridge of Budapest, attracting the well-deserved attention of tourists due to its charming shape and snow-white color:
On the Pest side of the bridge is the Március 15. tér (March 15 Square). 15 March was the day when the revolt against the Habsburgs in 1948-49 started - a national holiday in Hungary. Nearby (east side of the square) is the oldest church in Budapest, the Inner City Parish Church (Belvárosi plébániatemplom), which was built in the 13th century. It was built on the ruins of an ancient chapel where St Gellért was buried. At the entrance two statues welcome people; St. Jadwiga and St. Kinga are inviting you to the peaceful place. On the Eastern side of the church you can find a statue for St. Florian, wich was erected in 1723 to prevent fires:
There is a display of some ruins in the middle of the 15 March square: Those are the remains of the Roman fort, called Contra Aquincum. The Romans built a fort here in the 4th century AD, to make sure the “Barbarians”, who have been repeatedly attacking the Empire from the East, will not cross the river and take their camp on the Buda side by surprise:
In the NORTH side of the square, facing café, you’ll see a lower building, the Péterffy Palace, today called 100 éves restaurant (the 100-year-old restaurant) (Százéves Étterem). Unbelievable that this little house is a ‘palace’, since it lies below the current street level. When Pest was still enclosed by walls, all houses were like this size or even smaller.The building bears a Baroque-like look and impression. The restaurant was first opened in 1831. The picture right below is taken from Wikipedia:
Also interesting to know that this was the square where Franz Josef, the Emperor of the Astro-Hungarian Empire was crowned in 1867.
The view from the Pest side, near Erzsébet híd - to the Royal Palace in the Buda side (from south to north):
The view to Gellért Hill from the Pest side, on the Erzsébet híd:
Near the Buda end of the Elisabeth Bridge, before crossing the street to Gellert hill
- you see the statue of Sissy, in a very quiet and small garden (Döbrentei tér). It was, originally, set up here in 1932. It was removed during the Communist era but re-installed later at Döbrentei tér where you can see it until today:
Almost at the foot of the bridge are the Rudas Baths. Opening hours: MON - SUN: 06.00 – 20.00, FRI - SAT: 22.00 - 042.00 ! Some days are exclusive for either of the sexes. The weekends are co-ed (bathing suits required); on alternating weekdays men only/women only (with suits or nothing). Prices: Daily thermal-pool-wellness ticket: weekdays - 4 500 HUF, weekends - 4 800 HUF. Daily thermal ticket with cabin usage: weekdays - 3 100 HUF, weekends - 3 400 HUF. Multinational, but, still local hangout, popular place. Might be crowded. Recommended when your are BACK from the Gellért hill:
The Buda side is down beneath the Gellért Hill. The ascent to the top of the hill is a bit of a trek in the heat or in the rain. A slightly challenging hike 900 m. - 1 km.). It might be a bit grueling or oppressing to climb the zigzaging path and the steps up to the top. Not for those with mobility issues. But, plenty of places to sit and catch your breath. It might be also more breezy - compared with city centre heat. There are several stone benches where you can sit and enjoy the wonderful view.
All through and along the ascent path - wonderful views of the city of Budapest, the Danube river, the bridges and all of the surroundings. The trails are pretty easy to navigate up or down the hill.
Take water with you. There are sellers of bottled water - but they hike the prices. Some people prefer to go in the evening: it's beautiful to watch the sun set over the city and all the lights come on. If it is too demanding for you to climb the hill - take bus 27 from the north-west corner of Moritz Zigismond ter. The bus has a stop near the restaurant on the hill - and from there you have to walk 7-10 minutes further up the hill till the Citadella.
Facing the bridge stands the elevated statue of St. Gellért, (Szt Gellért Szobor) with an artificial waterfall, marking the place from where the local pagans put him in a barrel and threw him to his death down the hill into the river Danube in the year 1046. The statue is situated halfway up the hill. The monument, designed by Gyula Jankovits and erected in 1904, is in honor of the 11th century bishop St Gellért who converted the Magyars to Christianity. Below the memorial is a man-made waterfall. We arrive to the statue by climbing the steps and the path that lead from Elizabeth Bridge:
The panoramic views of Buda hills from the bottom parts of Gellért Hill:
The Gellért Hill (Gellérthegy) is the largest hill in Budapest, and thus the prime site for the Citadella and the Liberty Statue, which can be seen from just about anywhere in Budapest. The former name, Pesti-hegy referred to the large cave (now Gellért Hill Cave) in the hillside. The word is of Slavic origin and means "oven" or "cave". Gellért Hill is home to a great number of natural values. It has geological significance, as tectonic lines at its foot are responsible for thermal water springs found throughout Buda, such as the Árpád, Rákóczi and Mátyás springs. Caves in Gellért Hill are subject to national preservation, including Cave Iván and its chapel, as well as the spring caves of the Gellért and Rudas baths. In the 18th century the hillsides of Gellért Hill were covered with vineyards. The Tabán district at the foot of the hill was an important centre of wine-making in Buda.
The view is the most wonderful from the top of Gellért Hill towards the Castle of Buda and you can see the whole curve of the Danube:
The same view from year 1850:
and to Pest (the Parliament, St. Matthias Basilica, Chain bridge):
Now an affluent residential area, a number of embassies and ambassadorial residences line the streets which wind up the hill. Since 1987, the area is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of "the Banks of the Danube". Near and on the hilltop - you'll see several ornate mansions and houses:
At last you arrive to the lookout viewpoint. The site is approached via a very large number of tacky souvenir stalls, and is overwhelmed by coaches and herds of tourists:
The Citadel (Citadella) on the Gellert Hilll is one of the most emblematic locations of Budapest and it is also a popular lookout. Actually, at the top of the hill, from the Citadella (Citadel)there is a view down both directions of the Danube. From its terraces you have one of the best views of the city with the Buda Castle, the Parliament, the Danube bridges, the whole Pest side and the hills of Buda. The Citadel was built after the 1848–49 Hungarian uprising by the ruling Habsburg Austrians, as it was a prime, strategic site for shelling both Buda and Pest in the event of a future revolt. The Citadel was built by the Habsburgs to show their domination over the Hungarians after they were defeated in the War of Independence in 1848-49. In fact, the Citadel has never reached the requirements of modern warfare, the 220 meters long and 60 meters wide fortress with 4 meters high walls and 60 cannons only served to deter the Hungarians. Though it was equipped with 60 cannons, it was used as threat rather than a working fortification. After the Habsburgs and the Hungarian Conciliation they demanded the destruction of the Citadel, but the garrison marched out only in 1897, and then symbolically damaged the main gate. Gellért Hill also saw action in the Second World War and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when Soviet tanks fired down into the city from the hill. After many debates in 1960 it was decided the formation of the tourist center.
You can get into the Citadella for free after 19.00. Do walk to both ends of the Citadella. Despite being a little small, the bunker museum in the Citadelle was interesting and worth the 3 € price as a very tidy toilet is included in the price. A few Soviet WW2 cannons are also situated on the top. The Citadel on the Gellert Hill has several exhibitions. Three of these can be seen in the glass cases in the courtyard of the fort and an other one is the outer north side of the Citadel. These four are free of charge. For the Second World War wax exhibition located in the building you have to buy ticket:
A view from the Citadella to the Chain and Margaret bridges:
A view from the Citadella to the Elizabeth bridge:
A view from the Citadella to the Szazabad hid (Liberty bridge) (south of Elizabeth bridge):
The Hungarian Statue of Liberty (Szabadsag Szobor): In 1945 the Communism captured Hungary and many statues were built to commemorate its glory. The Liberty Statue, a large monument, was The Statue of Liberty by sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludy Stróbl erected in 1947 by the Soviet Red Army to commemorate their victory in World War II, the end of the Nazi rule and the ’liberation’ of Hungary by the Red Army. It presents a woman Holding a palm leaf in her hand. On both sides symbolic figures can be seen: the young man's victory over the dragon represents the defeat of fascism. More statues were also built, but they have been relocated to the Memento Sculpture Park. After the fall of Communism, the statue received a new inscription which says: “Memorial for all those who sacrificed their lives for independence, freedom and the success of Hungary”.
If you had enough of stairs - you can take a different path back from the top of Gellért Hill to the bottom. This winds gently through flowers-beds and gardens:
On our way down - we see the Danube between Elizabeth bridge (Erzsébet híd) and the Liberty bridge (Szazabad hid):
One more photo of the statue of St. Gellért, (Szt Gellért Szobor)- on our way down the hill:
We return to the foot of Gellért hill at Szent Gellért rkp. We walk along Szent Gellért rkp. from (our back) north to (our face) south, from Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth bridge) (well, a bit south to the bridge...) to Szazabad hid (Liberty bridge). It is approx. 500-600 m. walk. The constuctions of the Ottoman occupation, that are still standing today are medicinal baths found at the foot of the hill:
Then, we arrive to the Szazabad hid (Liberty/Liberation bridge). The bridge was built to plans resulting from a design competition held in 1893. Originall, it was named Fővám Square Bridge after the Fővám Palace, which currently hosts the Budapest Corvinus University, formerly known as Budapest University of Economics. The bridge was designed by János Feketeházy, chief engineer of the Hungarian Railroads at that time. Construction was started in June 1894. It was inaugurated by Francis Joseph I, who hammered in the last silver rivet on the Pest side on 4 October 1896, at the festivities held for the thousand-year jubilee of Hungary. The bridge was named Francis Joseph after the Emperor. Two years later, in 1898 tramway traffic was started on the bridge. Liberty Bridge is the third oldest and shortest bridge of Budapest. During World War II, on 16 January 1945, Francis Joseph Bridge, as every other bridge in Budapest, was blown up by retreating German troops. After the end of the war, it would be the first bridge to be reconstructed. Its state was not irreparable, only its central parts had to be rebuilt. It was reopened for traffic on 20 August 1946, its new name being Liberty Bridge. It meant also the first time after the liberation of Hungary that a tram connecting Buda and Pest crossed the bridge:
Having reached the Buda end of the Liberty bridge, you get to Szent Gellért tér (Gellért Square) at the foot of Gellért Hill, at its southern tip. The square has several magnificent landmarks. Bear in mind that there is a path leading from here to the top of Gellért Hill with the Citadella and the Liberty Statue. It takes only a 20-25 minutes' comfortable walk. There is a Metro station of Line 4 (green line) beneath the square. In the square, in front of the Cave Church's entrance is a statue of Saint Istvan, for whom the grand basilica across the river is named:
The square is dominated by the Danubius Hotel Gellért, Szent Gellért tér 1 and its Baths, sometimes called the "Grand Old Lady" of Budapest. Danubius Hotel Gellért is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Hungary. Built between 1916 and 1918 in Art Nouveau style, it's an iconic four-star hotel with the most elegant thermal bathhouse of Budapest. In 1894, the construction of Szabadság Bridge, along with the reconstruction of Gellért Square, was under way. The building of St. Gellért Hotel and Spa started in 1911, but WWI delayed the works. The hotel, built in the Art Nouveau style of the palace-hotels of the turn of the century, was finally opened in September 1918. The traditional, one century-old hotel is still a symbol of Budapest. The building was built by Ármin Hegedűs, Artúr Sebestyén and Izidor Sterk, their style greatly influenced by the works of Ödön Lechner. The characteristic entrance is decorated by reliefs by Aladár Gárdos, while the main entrance to the bath holds grand statues representing the process of healing by József Róna. When the four-storey hotel opened, it had only 176 rooms. All suites had bathrooms, with the supply of both mineral and thermal waters. Soon after the inauguration of St. Gellért Hotel and Spa, the so-called Aster Revolution broke out and the building was utilized for military purposes. Later, consolidation of the political and societal situation enabled the general public to use the hotel and bath for its original function again. The hotel quickly became a hub for social life thanks to its grand interiors, terraces and pools. In October, 1921 the International Convention of Hoteliers was held here. The guestbook was signed by famous individuals. Along with the Governor of Hungary and government officials, European royal families’ dukes, duchesses, mayors, maharajas, poets, writers, musicians, and aristocrats all stayed in the Gellért. Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, also spent her honeymoon here. In 1927, the outdoor wave pool was built by Artúr Sebestyén and in the same year 60 new rooms were added to the hotel. The wave pool produces waves to the cheers of bathers with the original machinery to this very day. The Jacuzzi pool was opened in 1934. Restaurants of the hotel have always been operated by the leading professionals in the field. From 1927 it was Károly Gundel, who rented and ran the dining rooms. His professionalism contributed greatly to the rise of the Gellért to the level of international grand hotels. Events in the Gellért were carried by newspapers around the world. Gundel created three famous dishes here: the Rothermere Zander, Bakony Mushrooms and Pittsburgh Veal Cutlets. World War II severely damaged the building. The Danube wing burned down completely, and the Gellért Hill wing partly. Reconstructions began in 1946 on the hill side, and in 1957 on the river side. Today’s rooms Duna, Márvány, Gobelin, and the Tea Saloon, as well as the Eszpresszó, were built in 1960. There are two famous dessert specialities from the Gellért. Posztobányi Pudding or Gellért Pudding, rich in dried fruits, and the chocolate-filled Gellért Roll, made by a secret recipe which so many have tried to duplicate. The real Gellért Roll can still only be tasted in the hotel. Until the 70’s, Hotel Gellért was at the forefront of Hungarian tourism. The hotel trained exceptional staff and was a pioneer in numerous innovations in the industry. It was the first hotel in Hungary where guests could pay with their own countries’ currencies, airport taxis were first employed here, and the Gellért was also the first to place minibars in the rooms. The hotel’s Brasserie Restaurant was also the first catering unit to start Swiss plate service. The Gellért accommodated world famous guests again. Violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin was the first among them after World War II. Richard Nixon, Julius Raab and Bruno Kreisky, Austrian chancellors, Shah Pahlavi from Iran and his family, the King of Nepal, the Dalai Lama, Agostino Casaroli, Secretary of State for the Vatican, Nobel Prize winner Heisenberg, American scientist Sabin, actors Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Marina Vlady, Alberto Sordi, Jane Fonda, cello virtuoso Pablo Casals, violinist Isaac Stern, pianist Arthur Rubinstein, conductors Carlo Zecchi, Gábor Carelli and Roberto Menzi, composer Dmitri Shostakovich, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hungarian-born Oscar award winning cameraman Vilmos Zsigmond. At present the Gellért has 234 rooms, out of which 13 are suites, 38 are superior doubles, 94 standard doubles, 49 singles with baths, and 40 singles with showers. The rooms, facing the Danube, have balconies with stunning views of Budapest. Today the bath and the hotel have different owners. Hotel Gellért is a member of the Danubius Hotels Group chain, and operates under the Danubius Classic Collection brand, which guarantees a special atmosphere and impeccable service. The bath is run by Budapest Thermal Waters Co. Ltd., and was recently renovated. The open-air wave pool and terrace is now supplemented by a thermal water pool. The Gellért is one of the most frequented and most well-known tourist sites in Budapest. Beautiful decorations of the hotel include the tiles produced by the Zsolnay factory, the columns in the Jacuzzi, and the colorful statues. In Gellért Bath most health spa treatments are available (such as balneo-therapy, mechano-therapy, electro-therapy, mud treatments, etc). It has a complex physio-therapy section and inhalatorium:
Diagonally opposite the bath entrance is the Gellért Hill Cave / Rock Chapel (Gellérthegyi Barlang) (Sziklatemplom), home to the only Hungarian-founded Christian order, the Paulines (the order of St Paul, the only monastic order in Hungary). Take about an hour from your schedule and visit the Cave Church. The design of this grotto church is based on the Shrine at Lourdes. During the Communist regime the chapel was walled in, and the order was disbanded and some leaders were prosecuted and jailed. For years, no one went into the church, but when it was announced that Pope John Paul II would be coming to Budapest, restoration work was quickly undertaken so that the chapel could receive papal blessing. At the same time, the church was dedicated to Polish victims of World War II in honor of the pope's home country. This church is very interesting and unique, as it consists of a number of chambers inside the cave. It has a very peaceful atmosphere and the audio commentary is very informative. The last room is full of beautiful wood carvings, don't miss it. Quite cool inside, so make sure you dress appropriately. Prices: only 500 HUF (about £1.25) including an audiotape guide. Heartily recommended. A stunning site:
We leave, now, the Gellért hill area. We have, approximately, 900 -1000 m. walk from the Danubius Hotel Gellért to Móricz Zsigmond körtér (sqaure) via Bartók Béla útca. Skip, now, to Tip 3 below.
Gellért Hotel Baths and Spa:
We know little about the bathing culture of the ancient Hungarians. References to healing waters in this location are found from as early as the 13th century. A hospital was located on this site during the Middle Ages. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, baths were also built on this particular site. The "magical healing spring" used the Turkish during the 16th and 17th centuries. The bath was called Sárosfürdő ("muddy” bath), because the mineral mud settled at the bottom of pools (see below). According to some chronicles, the thermal springs of Buda were recognized by the kings of the Árpád dynasty (1000-1301). Data from 1178 implies that the Johannite Order established a hospital by the foot of Gellért Hill. The bathing culture in Buda flourished during the Turkish era. The bath was called Adzik Ilidza, or Open Spa in Turkish. Other sources refer to the site as Aga’s Bath or the Spa of Virgins. After the Turks were expelled from the country, the bath had many different owners. In a German travel book from 1827, it is mentioned that there were accommodations built next to the spa and later in 1832 constructions of a larger hotel and bath began. In the 19th century it was referred to as Sárosfürdő, and was considered a pleasant bath and hotel. The bath complex was built between 1912 and 1918 in the (Secession) Art Nouveau style. It was damaged during World War II, but then rebuilt. Its name ’Muddy Spa’ comes from its exceptionally healthy mud, exceeding all other springs in quality. Due to its popularity, the mud reserves of Sárosfürdő were depleted. The Art-Nouveau architecture is just WONDERFUL ! The whole atmosphere is very old-world or vintage.
Opening times: Every day: 06.00 - 20.00. Prices: Adult ticket with locker usage: weekdays - 4900 HUF, weekends - 5100 HUF. Adult ticket with cabin usage: weekdays - 5300 HUF, weekends - 5500 HUF. Spa water massage (20 min) 3400 HUF, Spa water massage (30 min) 4400 HUF, Spa water massage (40 min) 5400 HUF, Aroma relax massage (20 min) 3400 HUF, Aroma relax massage (30 min) 4400 HUF, Aroma relax massage (40 min) 5400 HUF. Outdoor pools temperatures: waves pool - 26 degrees, adventure pool - 36 degrees.
Hints: Remember to bring your own towel to makes things easier. Women: you cannot swim in the pool without a shower cap or bath hat. Not-so-hygienic showers and floors. A bit of a complicated place to find things - lots of people wandering around lost ! The "women only" section is full of men and vice versa... Be careful with having proper change while paying in the cashiers. Avoid if it is crowded and / or with long awaiting queues (dirty and smelly at times).
Szazabad hid (Liberty/Liberation bridge) from the Baths:
From Danubius Hotel Gellért back to Pest centre:
From the Szent Gellért tér (Gellért Square) we walk 900 m. to our next destination - Móricz Zsigmond körtér (Móricz Zsigmond square). Head southeast on Szent Gellért tér, 35 m. Turn right to stay on Szent Gellért tér, 35 m. Continue onto Bartók Béla útca, 600 m. Turn left to stay on Bartók Béla útca, 15 m. Turn right to stay on Bartók Béla útca, 130 m.
Turn left onto Móricz Zsigmond körtér, 55 m. Turn right to stay on Móricz Zsigmond körtér, 60 m. Móricz Zsigmond square is an extensive square located in Újbuda (New Buda), or Budapest's 11th District. Two main boulevards converge onto this square: Béla Bartók utca and Villanyi utca. The square resides in 500 m. aerial distance to the river Danube. It is named after famous Hungarian writer Zsigmond Móricz in 1945. The square was a centre of fierce fighting in the 1956 Hungarian uprising. A new M4 metro line (Green line) had been opened from April 2014 with a station located at the square. The writer Móricz Zsigmond lived nearby at 50 Bartok Bela road from 1936 to 1937. The oldest building is #2, half of it destroyed at 1956. Note the attractive #1 building which was built around the end of the 1950s.
Prince St. Imre - a relief sculpture in Móricz Zsigmond square and its iconic statue:
The most iconic building in the square is the "Gomba" or mushroom. The traffic on the current Villányi út and on Karinthy Frigyes út started in 1928 and in 1937. The tram tracks were connected at the middle of the square, where the statue stands now. The Gomba was built in 1942, and originally functioned as the terminal of the suburban train. The connected tram tracks surrounding the monument were removed in 2002. The square is very busy: there are the terminals of trams no. 6 and 61 and of 8 bus lines, and another 5 tram and 4 bus lines cross it. THe old Gomba has been destroyed and the old new round shaped building, the Gomba is alive again:
From this square we head to the Parish Church of St. Imre (Church of Szentimreváros). Head northeast on Móricz Zsigmond körtér toward Karinthy Frigyes út, 60 m. Note: the nicest building in the Karinthy Frigyes road is No. 4, which was built by the National Bank in 1914. Turn left to stay on Móricz Zsigmond körtér, 55 m. Turn left to stay on Móricz Zsigmond körtér, 20 m. Turn left onto Bartók Béla út, 67 m. Slight right onto Móricz Zsigmond körtér, 63 m. Continue straight onto Villányi út, 350 m. The Church of Szentimreváros or the Parish Church of St. Imre, (Budai Ciszterci Szent Imre Templom), Villányi út 25 will be on your right. The city district was named Szentimreváros (City of St Imre) in 1934 on the 900th anniversary of St Imre’s death, the son of the first Hungarian King, St István. The Cistercian Order settled here in 1923, began to teach and to organize a new parish. Gyula Wälder designed a large-scale neo-Baroque building complex of which the high school was built as first, then the church was completed in 1938, but the construction of the monastery was prevented by the 2nd World War and the following era. Both the school and the parish church were nationalized in 1948 and 1951 respectively. The Cistercian Order has been restored in 1989 and got the church again.
The church has 3 naves. the main altar represents the scene when Saint Imre, Saint Stephen's son offers himself to Virgin Mary. The altar painting was created by István Takács while the gided neobaroque wooden statues (Saint Stephen, Saint Margareth and Saint Leslie) are Béla Markup's work. In fact, the church situated at the Feneketlen tó (Lake without a bed) (bottomless lake) and watching it from the other side of the lake (it's also illuminated in the evenings) it very scenic. The church stand north to the lake. To appreciate the whole panormic view go to the south side of the lake and watch the church, the Gellert Hill in far background and the Hemingway Cafe, 2 Kosztolanyi Dezso ter, on your left (east) (Good food but a bit pricey in Hungarian standards). At feneketlen to, which is bottomless lake in Hungarian, you can find a Christmas market during the December-January months. The lake entails urban legends mainly revolving around its name and origin. The bed of the lake used to be a marsh. Around the 1860s workers of the nearby brick factory used it to extract clay. Legend has it that they have dug so deep they have reached an underground water stream that burst out with such ferocity it washed away workers and their tools and filled the enormous pit. Even today there are a few who claim that the remains of the workers are still at the bottom:
From the Hemingway Cafe-restaurant we head southwest on Frankfurt stny. toward Frankfurt stny., 67 m. Turn left to stay on Frankfurt stny., 44 m. Continue onto Kosztolányi Dezső tér, 56 m.
Kosztolányi Dezső statue:
Turn left onto Bocskai út, 400 m. Continue onto Október huszonharmadika u., 450 m (interesting street with wonderful mixture of old and new architecture in south of Budapest):
Continue onto Irinyi József utca, 300 m. We pass through the Lágymányos Info / Science Park, Irinyi József u. 4-20. The whole complex of buildings (academic and commercial) is at the Lágymányos part of Budapest, at the Buda side of Petőfi bridge. A world expo was to take place in Budapest in 1995. It never happened. On the Pest side a National Theatre and the Palace of Arts were built (see our blog of "southern Budapest") and in the Buda side a new University's campus and Info Park - as a foundation for a new Hungarian Silicon Valley. Since 1999 leading international Hi-Tec companies conduct research projects in the park's buildings:
If we continue direct east - we'll arrive to Petőfi híd or Petőfi Bridge. Sándor Petőfi (1823 – 1849) was a Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary. He is considered Hungary's national poet, and was one of the key figures of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. The bridge was built between 1933–1937, according to the plans of Hubert Pál Álgyay. The bridge was inaugurated in 1937 and was named after Regent Miklos Horthy. In 1945 it was blown up during the siege of Budapest and was rebuilt in 1952 and then received the name of Petőfi. It is 514 m in length (along with the sections leading up) and 25.6 m in width and rebuilt after the WW2. It is the second southernmost public bridge in Budapest. Petofi Bridge is situated southwards from Liberty Bridge. Its end in Buda is the Goldmann György tér (next to the campuses of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, next to the Lágymányos campuses with their partying locations):
The view of the Pest side from Petőfi Bridge:
Continue, on the Buda side, northward along the Danube - through Egry József utca and Nina és Valdemar Langlet rakp or along Műegyetem rkp. After 1.3 km (approx. 20-25 minutes) walk - you'll see on your left the Budapest Technical University (Budapesti Műszaki Egyetem). It is located along the Danube bank between Liberty Bridge and Rákóczi Bridge (formerly called Lágymányosi Bridge). The Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) is commonly known as the Technical University. The largest central building, the "K" building was built in 1909 based on Hauszmann Alajos plans:
BME main entrance of the four allegorical female figures:
The BME interiors:
The view of the Pest side from the BME entrance:
A 400 m. further walk to the north brings us, back, to Szent Gellért tér. We turn right (east) to the Liberty bridge (Szabadság híd).
We cross the Danube over this bridge. Look back to the west side, to the Buda side and DO NOT MISS the Danubius Hotel Gellért under the evening sun rays:
We are, now, in Pest. The late afternoon or early evening hours are the best time, in a sunny day, to have a marvelous look at the grandiose Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall ("Nagycsarnok"). (see our blog "A rainy day in South of Budapest"):
It is 1.1 km. walk from the Central Market in Fővám tér, via Váci utca to Kristóf tér. From the Grand Market head southwest on Vámház krt, 30 m.
Turn right onto Fővám tér, 70 m. Continue onto Váci utca, 700 m. Váci utca (Váci street) is one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares and perhaps the most famous street of central Budapest. The street became a main thoroughfare of Pest in the 18th century and you'll find beautiful mansions from this era. Until the 1880-ies the main Promenade of Pest (Korzó) was the walkway lining the Danube between Eötvös Square and the Vigadó Square. By the turn of the 19th-20th centuries Váci utca took over the role of shopping street from Király utca, and the role of promenade fro the Korzó on the Danube embankment. Most of the protected buildings date from this period. There is a large number of restaurants and shops catering primarily to the tourist market. All the fashion "big names" are represented in this street: ESPRIT, H&M, Lacoste, Mango, Zara and many others. See our special blog of "Váci utca":
Turn right at Piarista utca, 10 m. Turn left onto Váci utca, 270 m and the street opens to Kristóf tér. The Square is one of the smallest squares in Budapest. The most distinctive element is the fishmonger girl statue, which was originally set up in 1862.
150 m. further north is Vörösmarty tér. At the centre of the Vörösmarty square facing west is a statue of poet Mihály Vörösmarty. Behind the monument is a fenced park and a fountain flanked by stone lions. At the north end of the square is the famous Café Gerbeaud. The southern terminus of the Budapest Metro's venerable yellow line (M1) is situated here. The British Embassy is also located at the square:
Head east on Kristóf tér toward Bécsi utca, 70 m. Continue onto Fehér Hajó utca, 140 m. Turn left onto Sütő utca, 60 m. Slight left and you arrive, finally, to our starting point onto Deák Ferenc tér.