Between Castle Hill and the western bank of the Danube, extending north from the Chain Bridge towards Margit körút, is the area known as Vizivaros or Water Town. This area gained its name in the Middle Ages due to constant flooding. It was originally an area inhabited by artisans and fishermen who, as a result, remained poorer than their neighbors on Castle Hill.
Today, the church towers of Viziváros create a wonderful vista along the western bank of the Danube. In the Middle Ages and during the 150 years of Turkish occupation a system of walls fortified this area north of Castle Hill. A short section of these walls still exists by No. 66 Margit körút. The tomb of Gül Baba, a Turkish dervish, is in the north of the area. It's one of the few surviving Ottoman monuments.
Gül Baba Tomb Vizivaros Budapest
Gül Baba was a Muslim dervish and member of the Bektashi order, who died in 1541, just after the capture of Buda. He was one of the few Turks respected and revered by the people of Hungary. His remains now lie in a tomb built between 1543 and 1598. According to legend, it was Gül Baba who introduced roses to Budapest.
From this came both the name of this area Rózsadomb, meaning Rose Hill, and Gül Baba's own name, which in English means Father of Roses. Fittingly, a lovely rose garden surrounds his tomb. A 400-year old dome covers the octagonal tomb. Inside, green cloth with gold citations from the Koran drape the sarcophagus. Pictures, religious items and beautiful rugs also adorn the tomb. It is a well-known place of pilgrimage for Muslims.
Capuchin Church Vizivaros
The origins of the Capuchin Church date from the 14th century, when the mother of Louis I, Queen Elizabeth, decided to establish a church here. Fragments of walls on the northern facade survive from this time. During the Turkish occupation, the church converted into a mosque. It's one of the nicest churches in Vizivaros.
Features from this period, such as the window openings and the doorway on the southern facade, have remained despite the fighting of 1686. Between 1703 - 1715 the church was rebuilt, following a design by one of the Capuchin Fathers.
In 1856 the church was again restyled, by Ferenc Reitter and Pál Zsumrák, who linked the differently styled facades harmoniously together. The statue of St Elizabeth on the mid-19th century Romantic facade also dates from 1856.
St Anne's Church Vizvaros Budapest
Budapest is home to many churches, but the twin-towered parish church of Víziváros is one of the most beautiful Baroque examples. Initially a Jesuit church, the architect who first designed it is unknown. In 1740 building started by Kristóf Hámon and after his death Mátyás Nepauer completed it.
In 1763 an earthquake seriously damaged the building and the Jesuit order's dissolution 10 years later further delayed the church's completion. Thus it remained unconsecrated until 1805. The rectory now houses the Angelika café.
St Anne's Church Highlights
- Pulpit: Károly Bebó created the magnificent, late Baroque pulpit in 1773. It features gilded details and angels that embody theological virtues. The reliefs were added later.
- Organ: The organ case from a former Carmelite church on Castle Hill moved to St Anne's Church in the late 18th century, after the order's dissolution by Emperor Joseph II.
- Side altar: The late Baroque altar of St Cross on the opposite side of the church, is the work of Antal Eberbardt and dates from 1768. The picture in the center was, however, executed by Franz Wagenschön.
Király Baths Vizivaros Budapest
The Ottoman Király Baths are one of the city's four remaining Turkish baths. Built between 1566 - 1570, with 19th century Neo-Classical additions, they kept many original features, the most beautiful being the central cupola hall with its octagonal pool. From here radiate out the smaller pools of different temperatures, the steam rooms and sauna's. Vizivaros is famous for these baths.
At the end of Fö utca, in the square that bears his name is the monument to the Polish general József Bem. The hero of the 1848-1849 uprisings, he's depicted with his arm in a sling. It was in this state, in the front line of the Battle of Pisk, that he inspired the Hungarian troops to attack the bridge and achieve victory over the Habsburg armies. Engraved memorable words, which he uttered during the battle, are on the base of the monument.