Gul Baba’s Tomb or Gul Baba’s Shrine (Gül Baba Türbéje) is the tomb of Gül baba built between 1543-1548 after the Turkish armies (the Ottoman Turks to be precise) occupied Buda , the hilly side of present day Budapest.
They have come to the conclusion that Buda is a good place, the castle is OK, the Matthias Church looks better as a mosque, and Buda is nice to enjoy the thermal springs – the place is abundant with excellent thermal waters for building a chain of Turkish baths along the river Danube. So they did build the Kiraly Turkish Baths, the Rudas Turkish Baths, the Rac Turkish Baths, the Veli Bej Turkish Baths! All of them still functional thermal baths. Unfortunately they also decided to remain for another 150 years, which the local Hungarians could not really appreciate (but now we love the Turkish baths of Budapest!). The shrine holds the original tombs of several Ottoman Sultans including Osman I and his son.
The shrine is on the hilly Buda side of Budapest, and takes a short, 5 min uphill walk to get to. Worth the short detour.
Basic info of Tomb of Gül Baba and Rosegarden (1543-1548)
Address: Mecset u. 14., Budapest, II. ker. 1023 (entrance from Türbe tér 1.)
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10 am – 6pm (March 01 – Oct 31), 10 am – 4 pm (Nov 1 – Feb 29)
Prices: 500 HUF, for students 400 HUF, for retired 250 HUF, for children (7-14 years old) 250 HUF
There were three kinds of Turkish monasteries that settled down in Hungary, the earliest of them was the Bectashi order, and Gül Baba was the greatest amongst the bectashi monks. He was supposedly an old man when he arrived in Buda in 1541, and he was the first to say a prayer and hold a speech in the former Christian Our Lady (Nagyboldogasszony) Church in Buda turned into the Suleiman jami. When Gul Baba finished his speech, he passed away and was buried on the Rose Hill (Rózsadomb). His shrine was erected by the third pasha in Buda, Jahjapasazáde Mehmed (1543-48)
The Shrine of Gul Baba was not damaged when the Habsburgs re-captured the area from the Ottoman Turks during the Second Battle of Buda in 1686. However, the shrine was converted into a Roman Catholic chapel by the Jesuits, and renamed St. Joseph’s Chapel.
This piece of estate later was owned the by János Wagner, who not only maintained the site as a property, but also allowed access to Muslim pilgrims coming from the Ottoman Empire – at that time a respectful gesture indeed. At the end of the 19th century, in 1885, the Ottoman government commissioned a Hungarian engineer to restore the shrine of Gula Baba. The historical restoration works were completed by 1914, when the tomb was declared a national monument. The site was restored again in the 1960s suring the socialist regime, who was oftentimes quite unwilling to restore historical buildings (including the Buda Castle, which was totally neglected and ruinous for many decades after WW2).
Gul Baba Shrine is now the property of the Republic of Turkey.