A sacred site of Budapest: the magnificent Cave Church

Cave ChurchBudapestGreater Budapest

There are only a few religious tourist destinations in the world where sacred significance and natural beauty merge. The Cave Church on the side of Gellért Hill is one of them. Come visit this beautifully renovated sanctuary of the Pauline Order, and see for yourself how beautiful it can be when religious faith, natural beauty and human perseverance meet.  

The turbulent decades of the Cave Church

Nestled into the south-eastern side of the Gellért Hill in Buda, the story of the Cave Church (also known as The Rock Church of Our Lady of Hungary) began almost a century ago. Half natural formation, half man-made, the concept of this church found its inspiration in the cave in Lourdes (France) in the 1920s: legend has it that the Holy Virgin appeared to a teenage French girl a number of times there. The altar there was visited by a group of Hungarian pilgrims, who then came up with the idea of constructing the Cave Chapel.

The construction of the church was completed in 1931. Three years later, they also built a neo-Romanesque style monastery for the Pauline monks, who had returned to Hungary around that time after having spent hundreds of years in exile. They were also granted the Cave Church, which has remained in the possession of the Pauline order ever since, albeit with some interruptions.

The peaceful years following the completion of the Cave Chapel gave way to a time of turbulence: in the 1950s, the Communist regime in Hungary abolished all monastic orders. The monks were forced to abandon the Cave Church, its entrance was walled off with concrete, and the cross above the entrance was torn down. The place was no longer permitted to function as a church until the 1990s, when finally the concrete wall blocking the entrance was demolished. A piece of the wall remains preserved on the right side of the entrance, serving as a reminder of the communist dictatorship to visitors.  

What can you expect at the Cave Church?

When visiting this wonderful sacred site located in the side of the legendary Gellért Hill, you will find yourself uplifted by its beauty. You will first arrive at the outer cave, from where you can follow the tunnel-like corridor to the deeper, man-made section of the church, where masses and prayers are held. Be sure to take a good look around the Cave Church, and take in the sights...  

  • the Pauline Order’s most important relic, a part of the hermit Saint Paul’s tibia;
  • the iconic work of art at the entrance, the statue of Saint Stephen, founder of the Hungarian state;
  • the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, standing in the foyer of the church;
  • the main altar, created in the world-renowned Zsolnay Porcelain Manufactory in Pécs;
  • a beautiful ceramic relief of St Gellért.  

 

You will find the experience truly cathartic, and it is worth noting that – due to the hot springs flowing through the mountain – the temperature inside the church remains at around a pleasant 20 degrees Celsius all year round.  

When can you visit the Cave Church?

You are welcome to visit the church at any time during opening hours, from Monday to Saturday. Be sure to take the hours of Mass into account, though.

Marvel at this unique church, located on the side of a hill; enter and know that you are in a place where national, historical, cultural and religious values and a true natural wonder meet.  

MOVE AROUND LIKE A HUNGARIAN