Gellért Hill - Places: A witch’s Travel Guide

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Gellért Hill
Places: A witch’s Travel Guide

Once upon a time, Gellért Hill was where Budapest’s witches celebrated nocturnal rituals and festivities. These days, it’s prime real estate: the hill offers beautiful panoramic vistas of Budapest and the Danube River. At least one dozen thermal springs gush from the hill; the source for Budapest’s fabled thermal baths and spas and the reason for its status as sacred Pagan territory.

Gellért Hill is now covered by shops, residences, and hotels: it’s hard for modern observers to visualize Gellért Hill as a natural slope and sacred site.

The hill was named in honor of Gellért, the eleventh-century Venetian bishop, missionary, and martyr who, under the reign of King Stephen (now St Stephen), converted Hungary to Christianity. After Stephen’s death, the Hungarians revolted and captured Gellért. They stuck him in a wooden barrel, hammered spikes through it and rolled Gellért down the hill into the Danube. After Christianity was reinstated, the hill was renamed in his honor (a statue of him stands there today), but according to witchcraft trial records, centuries later Hungarian witches continued to mount the hill to dance on moonlit nights. (See WITCHCRAZE!: Hungary.)