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the homeless, the site of an anti-aircraft battery and finally, since 1961, a tourist attraction. It is worth walking this far, and walk up to the upper level, and look down on the city from the top, through the “symbolic damage”. Funnily enough, you can actually drive there, since nobody checks whether you belong to the very few businesses in the area. 180 Gellérthegy and The Old City

19 Hegya

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Döbrentei tér

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A Erzsébet híd B Rudas Baths C Statue of St Gellért D Statue of C    Statue of St. Gellért Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth Liberty E Citadel Bridge) D Statue of Liberty B Rudas Baths E Citadel

back of human beings, to get their daily wine. Nowadays there is no wine produced here, but the hill was once covered in vineyards. St. Gellért Monument 19C ••• This bronze statue surrounded by a colonnade (Gyula Jankovits, 1904) faces the Buda end of Erzsébet híd and is interesting not so much in itself, but for its location. St. Gellért (Gerald), the Bishop of Csanád, was put into a nail-studded barrel according to the legend (although most historians say it was a wheelbarrow) and pushed over the edge of the hill by pagan Hungarians in the struggle against Christianity in 1046. It takes 20 to 25 minutes to climb the hill. The trees hide the city on the way up, so the panoramic view appears suddenly as you arrive towards the top. The Citadel (Citadella) 19E ••• Located at the top of Gellért Hill, this grim stronghold was built after the Revolution of 1848 – 1849 with the military purpose of controlling the city of

PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 180-181

181

Pest and Castle Hill. It became municipal property in 1894, when parts of it were symbolically demolished. There have been plans to set up a Hungarian pantheon here or to make a relief map of Hungary. During its history it has been a prison camp, a temporary accommodation for the homeless, the site of an anti-aircraft battery, and since 1961, a tourist attraction. It is worth walking up to the upper level to look down on the city from the top, through the “symbolic damage” (in 1897 when the city of Budapest was given ownership of the fortress it decided to demonstrate that it could pull down the whole building if it had the money – it was a sort of Bastille in the eyes of Budapest people). The fourteen metre-high statue of the woman holding a palm leaf in her hands (Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl, 1947) is the Statue of Liberty and commemorates the liberation from Fascist rule. Liberty can be seen from all parts of the city. She has become a symbol of Budapest abroad, which is why the statue was not removed (unlike the bronze Red Army soldier with a conspicuously clenched fist who used to stand guard at the base). Many Budapesters remember the Autumn Festival in the early 1990s when Tamas St. Auby, the avant-garde artist, “dressed up” the statue in white for three days, thus converting her into a ghost. It was a powerful image, especially at night when the ghost of Liberty was over Budapest. You can actually drive up here, since nobody checks whether you belong to the very few businesses in the area. Instead of the usual path leading to the foot of the hill, an even more pleasant route threads between the hill’s villas. Find Verejték utca, then follow Kelenhegyi út down to the Gellért Baths.

Walk THREE

Walk THREE

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Gellérthegy and The Old City

A Studio Building 20C XI. Kelenhegyi út 12 – 14. ••• This art nouveau building uses traditional materials in a bold, functional way (Gyula Kosztolányi Kann, 1903). Painters and sculptors live here even today and its architect is better known as a painter. Of his many designs, few were actually built. In 1999 the building nearly collapsed, allegedly because of some pipes built near the walls in less than thoughtful ways. Tenants had to be moved out overnight. They are happily back now. Hotel Gellért and Gellért Baths 20D XI. Kelenhegyi út 4., www.danubiushotels.com/gellert ••• Following the above route, you will see the recently enlarged open-air baths before you arrive at the hotel and the main entrance of the baths. The open-air pool stretches to the other side of Kemenes utca and is

2011.04.20. 15:49:33

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András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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