Saint George Hill basalt-lilacs

The Dragon’s Den

Mount Saint George is a typical “Witness Hill” of the Balaton Uplands, with huge basalt columns on its sides. The hill’s name originates from the former Saint George’s Chapel at its foothill, and some of the myths about the hill are intertwined with the legend of Saint George and the Dragon.

The hill’s bedrock originates from the Pannonian Sea sediment, which was deposited 3-4 million years ago, by a series of volcanic eruptions of basalt and basalt tufa. When the surrounding Pannonian sediment was destroyed, the area protected by the basalt cap became elevated from its surroundings, becoming notably higher.

Due to rapid cooling, hot lava spread over the polygonal columns, mainly around their edges. These columns were further shaped by the weather effects, forming in to spectacular basalt shapes, now known as “rock sacks” or “wool sacks”.

The most beautiful of these column formations can be found on Saint George’s hill, where these basalt columns rise 30-40 meters in height, lined up alongside each other.

Due to prevailing wind directions, the erosion process affecting the hillside in more impactful at the north side, with the basalt columns being more pronounced at this hillside. Heading from the north, starting at the tourist hut and up to the summit, basalt formations called the “Stone Gate” can be found. This hiking trail leads up the natural stairs, created by the debris of collapsed formations, following alongside the still standing basalt columns.

Dragon Lyc (also known as the “Dragon Cave”), is an interesting geological formation on the hillside. The cavern, being approx. 10 meters deep, is covered with debris of former basalt organs. Within the formed gaps, snow accumulates in the winter, often persisting until summer.

There exist several legends about the cave. According to one such story, the cave was once inhabited by a dragon, which was then defeated by Saint George himself. In a different story, connected to the legendary origin of the cave, a dragon inhabited the cave. He would terrorize nearby villagers, and kidnap girls. One day, the dragon fell ill, and he hurried to the villagers for help. The villager’s good will and assistance, softened the dragon’s heart, and they all lived in peace. When the dragon got older and died, with his last breath, he transformed the cavern into an ice cave. Similar stories related to the cult of Saint George, are often connected to the mountain as well.