The Cave Church in Budapest, Hungary

Located at the base of Gellert Hill, the hill that the Citadella (fortress) sits atop, is a system of caves. One of the caves was converted into a chapel in the 1920’s and even served as a hospital for the Germans during WWII. Known as the Cave Church, it was certainly one of the most interesting places that we visited during our time in Budapest. A cross on top of the hill denotes the location of the church, which is also located near the famous Gellert Baths where people gather to enjoy the therapeutic thermal baths.

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Altar Within Cave Church
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Seating for Religious Ceremonies
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Cross On Top of Gellert Hill
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Church Exterior Outside of the Cave
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Historic Artifacts
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Courtyard in the Church Exterior
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Intimidating Shadow

The atmosphere within Cave Church is interesting due to the lack of natural light and the rugged cavern walls. After its conversion to a hospital by the NAZI army during the war, it returned to serving as a church until 1951 when the Soviet Union had it shut down. The chapel was raided by the Soviet Army, the monks arrested, and the cave sealed up until Budapest regained their freedom in 1989. Today, the monks of the Pauline Order continue to operate the church and hold religious functions on the site as well as maintain it as a tourist attraction.

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Walking into Cave Church from the Entrance
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Hungarian Artwork
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More Art in the Cave
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Statue Outside of the Church
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Museum Display
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Flowers in Remembrance
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Main Altar

There is a nominal fee in order to enter the church and walking through the cavern will take you about thirty minutes to fully explore. In addition to the statues and artwork inside of Cave Church itself, there is also a small museum with additional historic artifacts. Exploring the church and understanding its history is certainly worth the effort of walking along the Danube below Gellert Hill. We combined it with our visit to the Citadella, which sits high above. It may not be the most well-known site in Budapest, but if your itinerary allows, we would recommend visiting.

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Ornate Confessional
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Statue Lit Up Against the Cave Wall
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Stained Glass Inside of the Cave
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Wood Carving in the Museum
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Painting in the Museum
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Wooden Statue Embedded into the Cave Wall

 

Making the Most of a Road Trip

Several years ago, we had taken a road trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and when taking long trips by car, we will often stop at places of interest along the way.  On this particular trip our journey took us past Fort Sumner New Mexico, which is the location of the tombstone for the infamous Billy the Kid, as well as Roswell New Mexico, the site of a supposed UFO crash that the government is covering up.  We knew that we wanted to stop at Roswell, but stopping at Billy the Kid’s tombstone was a spur of the moment decision when we saw signs on the road for the attraction.  While visiting the caverns was definitely the purpose of the trip, those added stops made the entire trip that much more interesting.

UFO Warning Sign
UFO Warning Sign
Carlsbad Cavern Formation
Carlsbad Cavern Formation

There isn’t much else to see in Fort Sumner other than Billy the Kid’s tombstone, but for a quick detour while traveling through New Mexico, it was fun to see.  With all of the technology that surrounds us in our modern world, it is somehow relaxing to reflect on just how recent it was that our world was not so complex.  According to legend, Billy the Kid shot and killed twenty-one men, although current belief is that it was only eight men, before being gunned down by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881.  From Fort Sumner, we continued on to Roswell and we went from life in the old west to space invaders in the span of less than an hour.

Billy the Kid Tombstone
Billy the Kid Tombstone
Tombstone Close Up
Tombstone Close Up

Do aliens really exist?  We’re not sure if they do, but we are positive that there are more than enough unique individuals on earth that we don’t need to import them from space.  As it turned out, it was the annual UFO Festival when we arrived in Roswell, so the town was crowded with enthusiasts.  After spending a few hours surrounded by people in costume, wearing tin foil hats, ufologists, and vendors trying to sell us UFO memorabilia, we were ready to jump into a spaceship and head to the rugged terrain of Carlsbad.

Aliens at UFO Festival
Aliens at UFO Festival
UFO Festival
UFO Festival

We were just there for a weekend trip, so our time in Carlsbad was fairly short, but we definitely enjoyed the caverns and the town.  One of the more unique things, other than touring the caverns and learning about stalagmites and stalactites, was learning about the bats.  Hundreds of bats make the Carlsbad Cavern their home and at sunset they all fly out over the heads of the tourists seated in the amphitheater to watch the spectacle.  It is quite impressive to see as there are so many of them that they literally look like a swirling black cloud as they zoom off to feed.  The kids enjoyed making bat guano jokes throughout the return trip home, but at least they listened to the ranger talk during the tour.

Giant Bat
Giant Bat
Carlsbad Cavern Formation
Carlsbad Cavern Formation

So, whether making a drive across country or just getting away for the weekend like we did, it is certainly worth making little detours along the way.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination” and so should your travels.  Make the most of the journey and you’ll enjoy the destination that much more.