Cave Chapel - Sziklakapolna, Budapest
Cave church (Sziklatemplom) is a strange catholic church dedicated to St.Istvan that dates from 1926.
The weird thing about it is the fact that it’s actually a cave on Gellert Hill that was turned into a church by the order of Pauline monks!
The cave was the home of Saint Istvan a hermit monk that supposed to use the thermal waters near the cave to cure people. The church was created in 1926 when the cave was expanded. During the communist era it was closed (actually a 2m thick wall blocked the entrance!) but opened again in 1989 and it is still an active church with masses etc. Not much to see inside except some statues and the beautiful altar but just outside the church is a statue of Saint Istvan holding a church (pic 3), at least this is a great spot for some photo shots :)
Mass takes place at 8.30am, 17.00 and 20.00 during the week and 8.30am, 11.00am, 17.00 and 20.00 during Sunday. Tourists are not permitted in the church during mass.
Built in 1926 on the slope of Gellert Hill, facing the Danube River, the deisgn of this grotto church is based on the Shrine at Lourdes. It was originally intended as a worship place for monks of the Pauline order (see my University Church tip for more info). The entrance to the church was sealed shut in the 1950s by the Communist authorities when the few monks living in the church's adjoining monastery were accused of committing treasonable acts. 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 ithe chapel could receive papal blessing. At the same time, the chuch was dedicated to Polish victims of World War II in honour of the pope's home country.
A great chance for religious travellers or just curious tourists, the Cave Chapel is something unique, something inprecedented. In Bulgaria, there is a similar Aladja Monastry around Varna but it is not the same.
Built in 1931, this place was built by the Christian community and 20 years later walled up during the Communism. It opened doors in 1989.
The Cave Chapel is situated on Gellert hill, easily accessible by tram.
This is in Budapest very close to the Gellert Hotel and the bridge going over the Danube at that intersection. This ruin(?), Originally a home for St Istvan, is set directly into the rock face and is just amazing looking---Thanks to the VT top-Budapest reviewer antistar, I now know that it is open daily 9-8PM except during services...Walk a little ways out onto the bridge for a great photo op....
Gellert hill contains a whole network of caves, of which this is only one part. It was supposedly the home of a hermit monk, who used the natural thermal waters (which now feed the Gellert baths) to heal.
In the 1920s it became a chapel run by a group of Pauline monks.
Just outside the Rock-church is this statue of St Stephen (Istvan), holding a church. He was the first King of Hungary (Kiraly means King), and promoted the spread of Christianity. The pope sent him a crown in 1000, officially recognising him as the Christian King of Hungary, and Hungary as an independant nation.
At the base of Gellert Hill, near the Gellert Hotel and Liberty Bridge, is the entrance to the cave system, now converted into a working chapel. The caves have an interesting history. First they are believed to have been inhabited by a hermit, St. Ivan, who used the natural spring water to heal the sick.
In the 20th century they were taken over by the Pauline monks, where it served as a chapel and monastery until 1951, except for when it was taken over by the Nazis during World War 2 and used as a field hospital. I saw a suspicious looking eagle statue in the depths when I was there - I wonder if that was a left-over?
When the Soviets took over they left the monks alone for a while, but in 1951, during a crackdown the Catholic church, the monastery was raided, the cave was sealed, the monks imprisoned, and the head of the order was put to death. The monks returned again when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989.
Cave Chappel (Gellérthegyi-barlang in Hungarian) is a small church in the area of Gellert hill that is built inside a cave.
Some people also call the cave Saint Ivan's Cave (Szent Iván barlang in Hungarian) because of a Hermit who lived in this cave and healed sick people.
After the place was closed for many years because of the communism , it is now open to public.
The Cave Chapel (Sziklakapolna) was constructed into the hill between the Citadella and the historic Gellert Hotel. It was originally built in 1924 after local monks visited a similar cave church in Lourdes, France. In 1951, the communist Hungarian secret police arrested the monks that operated the church and later the front entrance was bricked up. It was just reopened in 1989.
From here is is a 10-15 minute walk up the hill to the Citadalla and some wonderful city views. It is also just a 5 minute stroll to the Gellert Hotel.
This is one of the most original churches I've visited so far. It is said that St. Stephen used thermal water from a lake next to the cave to heal the sick. The entrance was made in the 1920's and has served as a chapel since 1926, with the exception of 1951-1992 when the Soviet army took over Budapest and closed it.
People are asked to do as little noise as possible, as this is a place of prayer, and to kindly wait until the mass is over to get in. You don't pay to enter, but there are some donation boxes where you can leave some coins and there's a little stand where you can buy postcards, small rosaries and medallions.
Besides the directions written below, you can access the chapel like we and a lot of other tourists did: Take the subway and get off at Kalvin tér, then walk towards and cross the bridge. Walk up on Gellért Hill and you're there.
The interior of the Cave chapel is just fantastic, altough here you don`t see fancy baroque altars, just a very unique cute little church wich actually doesen`t have the form of a church.
The church cannot be visited before 12 AM and during the holy mass. After this time you can enter. Please keep the silence if you enter the church.
I show some images, how does the chapel look like.
Unfortunately, when I took these photos, I couldn`t go inside the chapel, because it was closed. But later I will take some photos also of the internals, wich are very interesting.
Ok, today, on the 29 of march 2007 I put in the photos I had promised:) See next tip
The "Pálos" order is the only religious order, founded by hungarians. Hundreds of years ago, they created this very caracteristic chapel. This order was several times dismissed but every time it was reinstituted. The chapel got it`s present day aspect in 1926, and in 1934 also a chloster was built in the same place. During the communism, the chapel was walled up, but in 1989 it was reopened to the fedels and for the visitors. A visit here is recomended, especially if you climb the hill from the Gellért hotel.
The Rock Church is an interesting structure with an even more interesting history. It was built within a natural cave in Gellert Hill in the early 20th century. However, when the communists came to power after WW2 the church was sealed off. It reopened more than 40 years later following the fall of Communism in Hungary and much of the rest of Eastern Europe. The church is said to be a copy of a similar church in Lourdes, France and is located opposite Hotel Gellert in Buda.
Near the Gellert Hotel is the Cave Church. Though we didn't get to see all the way inside because a service was going on and we didn't want to disturb (rather, we weren't allowed in, guess you can't late to church in Hungary).
The church is designed after the chapel in Lourdes, Portugal. Closed by communist soldiers, the church was reopened in the late 80's and still in operation today.
When you cross the Independence Bridge from Pest to Buda you will see the Cliff Chapel, which is built into a cave. It is open from 9am - 9pm, but not during mass. When we arrived it was around 5pm and a sign said the chapel was open again after the mass 6.30pm. So long we didn?t want to wait, and therefore did not see the interior.
The chapel dates from 1926, but in 1951 it was closed and the priests arrested by the communists. In 1992 it was reopened.