Sunday, August 11, 2019

Cave Church

Budapest's Gellérthegyi Barlan (or the Gellért hill cave) is a cave turned into hermit's hideout, turned into peasant home, turned into a church, and then closed and sealed behind a concrete wall by the communists. Oh, and the communists also executed the head monk.

But fortunately, the concrete wall was taken down and the church reopened on August 27, 1989.

Today the church can be visited by paying a small fee for the ticket. The main church rooms themselves are inside the hill in the cave, but there is also an attached monastery, Pálos kolostor, built in front of the cliff.

The church is on Gellért hill, and there's a great path leads from the church up to the top where you can find the Citadella fortress. The walk up is much recommended, with great views over the river and Budapest. But the fortress itself is sadly closed at the moment due to the structure being unstable.

More pictures:

A window at the cave church:

The entrance:

View from the top:

The additional churches on the side of the hill:

See all the caving stories at! Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Diósgyőri vár

What a mixture of styles! The Diósgyőri vár or Castle of Diósgyőri sits in the town of Miskolc. A medieval castle, next to a traditional church, next to regular houses, next to a massive wall of Soviet-rule era apartment blocks.

Also, the restored castle is very nice and well worth visiting.

Text and photos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Dungeons of Castle Eger

Janne and I visited Castle Eger in Hungary (Egri Vár in Hungarian). I loved the sign, "no ballet dancing on the top of the walls"?

But the castle was also great. The castle has seen many changes during its thousand year old history. There used by be a large gothic palace or church, but today only ruins remain; the military defence designed evolved over the years as cannons developed. The castle is best known for defeating the Turkish invasion in 1552.

There are interesting dungeons, tunnels, and prisons to explore at the site.


The cathedral ruins:


A view from the well:

A view from the top of the walls (no, I was not ballet dancing):

See more urban exploration and caving stories from and! Text and pictures (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Harmony Spa

Today I washed the sweat and dust of the day off at the Harmony Spa. Very, very nicely coloured sauna. Hot too. And a nice blue pool.

Recommended. Nine thousand local to enter (around 27€).

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Read more sauna and swimming stories from and! And all sauna and pool pictures have been taken with permission, outside opening hours, or when there were no other guests present.

House of Terror

The museum of Communism's Achievements? Also known as the Museum of Terror... terrible stories about the killings, beatings, and imprisonments of the communist era. People who didn't follow the party line, or just happened to have a house that a party official wanted.

Horrible, horrible.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And once again, inside the museum one cannot take photos, but fortunately someone donated some pictures for this article. (Thanks!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Labirintus: Lost in Count Dracula's Prison

A maze of caves and underground prison cells, cages, darkness, fog, and Dracula? Sign me up please!

Today I visited Labirintus, a set of connected caves and cellars under the Buda hill in Budapest. The adventure is to do this in darkness. And a wax museum! Again! This time from the opera... weird.

Not bad. Also, much cooler than the 30+ degrees outside.

See more urban exploration and caving stories from and! Text and pictures (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Hospital in the Rock

A vacation isn't a vacation unless one can visit another nuclear bunker!

I had an opportunity to peek inside Budapest's Hospital in the Rock, a set of natural caves turned into cellars turned into a connected network of tunnels turned into an underground shelter for World War II turned into a hospital, turned into a secret nuclear bunker for cold war, turned back into a hospital for the uprising against Soviet Union rule, and now turned into a tourist attraction.

An interesting historical visit! What's at the same time interesting and disturbing is that the place is filled with wax models of patients and doctors, sometimes with lifelike (or should I say deathlike?) details of the wounded.

Taking photographs inside is forbidden. Fortunately I was able to to find some inside pictures from other sources, presented here for your viewing pleasure.

Generator lights in the still operational electrical system:

In the 1968 uprising against Soviet Union, the hospital was again needed:



See more urban exploration and caving stories from and! Text and pictures (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.