Gellert Hill is another tourist and local hotspot in the beautiful capital city of Budapest. It gets its name from the bishop Gellert, which would mean Gerard in English, who was thrown from the hill while fighting for Christianity against pagans. The statue can best be seen from Elizabeth Bridge and is immediately recognizable thanks to the cross the bishop holds. The top of Gellert hill is occupied by the Citadel, a fortress build by the Austrian Habsburgs after managing to suppress Hungary’s War of Independence in 1849. Its key position allowed cannon fire on just about any part of the city in case any rebellion broke out, making the Citadel an important asset when it comes to keeping the city in check.
During the 18th century the slopes of Gellert Hill were covered in vineyards, transforming the Taban district, which is located at the bottom of the hill into one of the best places for wine manufacturing in the country. The military importance of the Citadel was speculated throughout the 20th century as well, being used by both Nazis as well as Soviets in order to control the city and even suppress the revolution of 1956. The hill also boasts a statue of liberty which was erected by soviet troops to celebrate Hungary’s liberation from Nazi forces. The statue’s impressive size and position make it visible from just about anywhere in the city.
Presently, Gellert Hill is one of the best residential areas in Budapest. Among the lavish homes of the city’s richest you will find embassies as well as luxury hotels and baths. Gellert Hill has been named a World Heritage Site since 1987, being part of an effort to preserve the beautiful banks of the Danube. Gellert Square is a charming gathering place for the district’s residents offering numerous elegant restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. If you want a great place to appreciate the turn of the century palaces of Budapest’s richest residents then Gellert Hill is a great place to take a walk. Make sure you bring comfortable clothes and shoes as the hill can get quite steep in some parts.
Gellert Hill is considered by many the perfect place for tourists to start their exploration of the city. It offers some of the best sites over Budapest as well as numerous other attractions they can visit. Aside from the numerous statues present on the hill, tourists can also visit Gellert Hill Cave Church. The tunnels there were dug in 1920 and were used as a hospital during World War II. They have since become a church for the Paulite order but still constitute a major tourist attraction thanks to their interesting and quite elaborate setting.