Var Barlang

Castle Cave

Useful Information

Location: Budapest. Entrance: Országház utca 16, Castle District.
Open: Closed. [2009]
Fee: Closed. [2009]
Classification: ExplainTufa cave
Light: electric.
Guided tours:  
Address: Várbarlang, Országház utca 16, District I, Budapest 1014.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Var Barlang (Castle Cave), also called Budai Várbarlang (Buda Castle Cave), located below the castle on Várhegy (Castle Hill) in the middle of Budapest. It is said to be the largest system of cave-cellars in Hungary. The cellars belonged to private buildings on the castle hill but were connected over time and finally formed a labyrinthic maze several kilometers long. During medieval times, the cellars were used for food storage. The wells of the cellars provided drinking water for the town. Parts were used for valuables or as a hiding place. Later the cellars were abandoned and almost forgotten.

At the end of the 19th century an increasing number of passages caved in. As a result the cellars were surveyed and then started to fill in. In the 1930s the natural parts of the cellars were recognised as tufa caves. At this time parts of the caves were converted into shelters accomodating some 10,000 people by the wartime defence program. Parts were used for military purposes by the German army. Later, during the Cold War, the cellars again housed secred military installations.

A part of the system of cellars was guided for decades as show caves, but at the moment it seems they are closed for the public. During a 40 minutes long guided tour wells, former storerooms, and remains of World War II, like combat stations and baths used by the Germans, were shown. At the moment another part of the several kilometer long system is open to the public, which is called Budavári Labirinthus.