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Take a hike around scenic Sóskút, the quarry that helped build Budapest


  • Wágner Gábor

15/01/2021 12.55pm

A few kilometres west of Budapest, around Érd, lies the village of Sóskút, a quiet settlement primarily famous for its quarry. Those in the know come here to enjoy a scenic day out, following winding paths working their way through the Kálvária hills, around nearby Peca Lake and between dramatic rock formations. The hike is a loop, bringing you full circle as you admire the scenic highlands and take in a landscape populated since the Bronze Age.

Photo: We Love Budapest

Many of the houses in the village of Sóskút look medieval, built of huge rock blocks mined from the nearby quarry for hundreds of years. The stones from the Sóskút mines can be found in the Vienna Opera House, as well as the Basilica, Parliament and the Opera House here in town. Even the Chain Bridge, and structures in the Castle District, are built from Sóskút stone, including the revered lions at the bridgehead.

Photo: Kőrösi Tamás - We Love Budapest

Famed architect Miklós Ybl even took part here in extracting rock from the area, and for more than 40 years the village was connected to Tárnok railway station by horse-drawn transport. It was from there that the mined stones were taken to their final destinations.

Photo: We Love Budapest

Approaching Sóskút from Biatorbágy, from a distance you see the gaping rock cavity of the old quarry on Kálvária hill. There are several smaller ones, as well, the result of expansions over the years. It’s possible to access these old quarries, but it's not easy – the climb up is a scramble over steep, stony ground, and descending is no easier.

Approach with caution, wear good shoes and keep your balance!

Photo: We Love Budapest

According to the records, Sóskút has stood in its present location since the 1200s, but archaeological evidence and historic research indicate that even earlier settlements may have existed in the area.

An old Roman military route passes through Kálvária hill, and Hungarian tribal leader Árpád allegedly organised his campaign to conquer Transdanubia from this spot. Even remains of a Bronze-Age stronghold have been discovered by archaeologists, so the land has seen much human activity for millennia.

Photo: We Love Budapest

Nowadays the village is a charming retreat, with friendly residents and hiking trails branching out from the village centre, indicated by red signs. The road first takes you to the top of the hill via a bushy path which winds between houses, and then joins the much larger dirt road.

There are a total of 14 religious stations along the way, showing Jesus on the cross. At the end of these, you reach the summit, with panoramic views of the surrounding hills, valleys and villages. It’s an area reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands or the set of a Tarkovsky film.

To climb down to the largest rock cavity, somewhat like a dragon’s cave, this is the point at which to do so, as it’s easiest to reach from the top. But remember to be alert and careful!

Continuing to follow the red signs, make your way down the barren, wind-swept hillside, trekking down a path dotted with rock formations, until you come to a more forested part on the banks of the Benta stream.

On the other side of the trees is Lake Peca, a fishermen’s paradise, with calm waters between the cottages and trees. From here, leaving the lake behind, you return slowly to the village, back to where you began.

Photo: We Love Budapest

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