In my opinion, this was the most interesting museum in Budapest. It is housed in the building that served as headquarters to the Nazi party and then to the Communist party while the country was under Soviet rule. As you make your way through the museum, a collection of artefacts, documentaries and info sheets give you information about this determining era in the history of the country, which ones tend to forget given how much Budapest has changed and recovered from its battle wounds. It also serves as a memorial to the victims of these two totalitarian regimes. The visit includes a tour of the basement's cells where people were detained, interrogated and executed by the KGB.
Admision costs 2000 forints and the museum is closed on Mondays.
The House of Terror is a very interesting and eye-opening museum about one of the dark chapters of Hungary's past. This museum showcases what life was like under communism and fascism and commemorates the victims. It details the activities of the old secret police and takes you downstairs to view their various torture and interrogation rooms. Pictures of the victims line the walls. The "propaganda room" is also very interesting to walk through. There is so much information here as well as exhibits and original "artifacts" from this time. If you come to Budapest, you have to visit this museum to see what life was like in Hungary for a large part of the 20th century.
This building on Andrassy Avenue at number 60 was the headquarters of the secret police first under the Fascist Arrow Cross regime (who called it the "House of Loyalty") and then the communist regime. The building now operates as a museum telling the story of the repression of the Hungarian people under these two regimes (with a heavy emphasis on the communist regime).
The route around the building starts on the 2nd floor and works down to the basmement where you see the cells that many of the regimes' victims were incarcerated in. The displays are on the whole evocative and emotive (with atmospheric, foreboding background music) rather than informative. The information is conveyed instead through printed A4 information sheets which you pick up as you enter each room (in Hungarian or English). Each room does provide a great deal of information in this way and you can take these info sheets away with you. Many of the rooms also have screens showing interviews with people who are telling their stories about the actions of these regimes (victims and staff).
I must confess: When I planned my visit to Budapest the House of Terror was not high on my list: Given its name and the fact that in popular travel websites it was rated first in popularity among all the Budapest sights, I expected some kitschy tourist attraction that commercialized Hungary's grim history in the 20th century and sold this story to attraction-hungry tourists from overseas. Well, I was mistaken, I was wrong.
This is a serious, comprehensive display of the troubles in Hungary from the 1940s to 1991: The Second World War, the Arrow-Cross regime, the rounding-up of Hungary's Jews and their dispatch to liquidation, the short "spring" after Hitler's defeat, then the Communist takeover, the early suppression of liberal, democratic voices, the 1956 uprising and its cruel suppression, the totalitarian regime up to the Soviets' departure in 1991.
Although serious and comprehensive, the display is extremely well put together, the stories are thrilling, the atmosphere created in every room different according to the topic but very realistic. This creates for the visitor a personal journey through recent history, experiencing what the Hungarian nation has been through.
The setting is the grim building of the secret police, with its authentic prison cells. And where, of all places? On the elegant Andrassy Street, in central Budapest.
Yes, it is claustrophobic; a Russian tank occupying the center of the small inner courtyard on the ground floor; an elevator which takes you (one way!) down to the prison cells in the basement. You can't go back up in the elevator; you have to make your way through the small labyrinth of the prison to find the way up again, and then the atmosphere changes abruptly: It is happy and solemn, the Russian tanks are leaving, this time for good.
One of the powerful halls of the museum is deisgned as a courtroom. You actually sit on a wooden bench and watch a black & white documentary of the trial of Imre Nagy, the Hungarian leader who wanted more freedom for his people.
A humorous interlude is the room dedicated to Communist consumer propaganda: Bright lights, colorful posters, some of them saying that American-bred insects are destroying the Hungarian crops (see photo)...
Whatever you do in Budapest, the House of Terror is a must!
Looking more like a nightclub than a monument to the thousands who suffered at the hands of the autocratic regimes that ran Hungary into the ground in the latter half of the 20th century, the House of Terror remains a very popular tourist destination. It's a museum that charts the horrors of the fascist Arrow Cross Party, and the longer period of pain under the Communists.
It's a fascinating period of Hungary's history, but the museum has drawn some criticism for its political nature, not least because its first exhibition is a video that details the loss of Hungarian territory under the Treaty of Trianon, a popular theme with Hungary's far right.
The Summer of 2010 will probably go down in my personal history as The Summer of Communist Memorials. Having recently visited the Memorial to Victims of Communism and the Resistance in Sighetu Marmatiei, I was interested in seeing Budapest's take on the same theme. I thought, surely a world-renowned, wealthy metropolis like Budapest will have a museum that really makes an impact. Sadly, House of Terror simply did not compare to the museum I'd visited only weeks earlier in Romania. House of Terror (Terror Haza) is one of Budapest's most popular "tourist attractions". Located on the upscale Andrassy utca in the former headquarters of the secret police, this museum is something of a labyrinth, with rooms dedicated to the atrocities committed by the fascist and Stalinist regimes, as well as the events preceding the 1956 Uprising (against Soviet policies in Hungary). While I found many of the rooms to make a strong visual impact, I didn't feel that the experience was cohesive for non-Hungarian speakers. As a young North American anglophone I had minimal background knowledge, and the information cards at the entrance to each room left much to be desired. If you have a passionate interest in fascism or Stalinist policies, or an interest in gallery design, you might want to visit House of Terror. Otherwise, I'd be hard-pressed to recommend it. Note that the museum is closed on Mondays and regular admission is about 1800 HUF. Access from Oktogon metro station.
House of Terror is a museum located at Andrássy út 60 in Budapest, Hungary. It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.
The museum opened on February 24, 2002 and the Director-General of the museum since then has been Dr. Mária Schmidt.
House of terror is a museum about communist and fascist regimes in Hungary during the 20th century.
Outside the museum you can see a pictures of victims of this regimes - people who tortured or killed or interrogated in this building.
Entrance to the museum will cost 1500 Forint.
This museum is one of the best I have seen in Eastern Europe. It has interactive displays, state of the art equipment and English description. It is 3 floors of rooms, taking you from the Nazi occupation, to liberation by the Soviets and then to the Soviet occupation. There is a mock prison in the basement and the weirdest fountain I have ever seen in my life in the lobby- an oil fountain. The tank in the lobby has an incredibly slow dripping oil fountain. The normal price is 1500 HUF for adults, 750 HUF for students, but on Sundays its free, all you have to do is show your ISIC or other card like it. I would give yourself 45-90 minutes to go through it, depending on what kind of a museum person you are.
This museum was not particularly impressive, but very enlightening about why budapest is eastern the way it is, why today economically it is still suffering from the communists, and most importantly, budapest was the victim of the imposing policies of the facist Stalin. Many people were killed.
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