Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Budapest: Gellert Hill

I'm spending summer holiday at my sister's place in Budapest, while my sis is working on an exhibition at Tampere and using my place.

All who have played civilization remember that rivers give food and trade bonus and hills give 100% defense multiplier. Budapest is at river Danube (Tonava in Finnish). Gellert hill was one of the first settled positions. The Celtic Erave settled the northern slope before the Roman empire!

The hill was named after the bishop Gellert who was converting the locals. He became a martyr after the locals pushed him down from the hill to Tonava in a barrel.

Nowadays, the small fortress on the top of the hill has been converted into a museum surrounded by lush parks.

Here are great views, no wonder they chose this as a defending position.

The best museum at the hill is named Bunker'44. During the second world war, a bunker was built for air defence and command center inside the hill's small fortress. The museum is located at this wet and rough concrete bunker.

Instead of artifacts, the museum contains photographs, wax dolls and long descriptions about Budapest's fate in WW2. In the end of the WW2, Soviet forces put Budapest through one of the longest, most destructive and bloodiest sieges during the second world war. It lasted 100 days, civilians were not evacuated, and destruction was comparable to that of Stalingrad. To add to the messiness of the situation, droves of Hungarian POWs converted to Soviet side to avoid the fate of a POW. The Germans did mass executions of Jews (scale: x * 10000) while the Soviet did smaller mass executions after the war (scale: x * 100).

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