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Sara Szarka: Budapest, You Wonderful - Chapter 1: Viewpoints

A perfect hideaway and a great stop to admire the view of the city sliced by the wonderful Duna river - The Gellert Hill Hungarian trad...

A perfect hideaway and a great stop to admire the view of the city sliced by the wonderful Duna river - The Gellert Hill

Hungarian traditions reflect a great deal of socializing, the importance of communities, exploring, eating and visiting viewpoints. One of the most favored ones by ‘Budapestians’ is the cozy hill which is topped with the Hungarian Liberty statue and a great opportunity to gaze at the landscape from above.

The viewpoint stands 235 meters above sea level, which makes it a nice little hiking adventure. The top can be approached from multiple sides: the official way, and the unofficial way. The latter is more of a secret way, which can be completed only on foot and goes more behind the hill, away from the crowd. It is definitely a nice choice for people who do not like to be involved with the public as much and are looking for a more romantic way up to the hill.

Along the narrow road, we are surrounded by light grey rocks, trees and a spectacular view of the heart of Europe. As we climb our way up to the famous hill, we begin to understand why the Gellert Hill is also called The Jewel of Budapest.

A quick halt on the road 
An important fact to mention is, that in 1987 UNESCO has officially included the place within the list of the World Heritages.

We can also choose to sit in a car and make our way up more efficiently and comfortably to the top where the breathtaking view of the sky and land begins.

As it’s highly recommended, best to hike up while the Sun sets, so we can admire the view of the glittering city, enjoy the gentle breeze and the soothing sounds of the gurgling river below us.

As the Sun sets, the miracle begins
If we decide to turn our backs to the spectacular view of the never sleeping, but still quietly humming city, we stand face to face with the Liberty Statue. Representing the freedom and the heroes of the Hungarian liberty, the monument stands since its erection in 1947.

The monument stands in an eternal, invisible breeze above the city. 
The word liberty stands sensitively in the heart of Hungarians, and as a tender reminder of oppression and freedom, the female figure holds a palm tree branch in her hands. With time, the statue has become a symbol of Budapest, and it is favored by both locals and travelers.

As soon as we wander downwards on the Hill, we are ought to make a short but very special stop. Carved within the rocks of the hill stands the Cave Church, which holds many aspects and possibilities to it. The cave sits in a unique and charming way surrounded by rocks formed by thermal springs. Well known, that the small hidden treasured place belongs to the Paulite monks, and everyone is free and welcome to enter.

Upon setting foot inside we find ourselves in a fantasy-filled atmosphere. A small rocky cave, with many carvings along its walls for candles, pictures of the holy, and small holes to sit and rest on. We can notice that the temperature is quite pleasant, about 20 Celsius, which does not change with the seasons, thanks to the thermal hot springs that are running within the rocky walls.

At the entrance, we will be asked if we have come here to pray and show our respect or just as simple visitors. If we stick with the first, we will be allowed to enter free of charge, but if we are coming as tourists, a small fee will be charged upon entering the walls.

Inside we can find places to sit, possibilities to socialize and inquire about attending holy masses. The general opening times are from 9.30 AM until 19.30 PM.

In summary, Gellert Hill is one of the most pleasant and relaxing places in Budapest, along with a hillside but short walk, amazing view of the city and a pleasant place to take a rest.

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