Probably the bleakest museum in Budapest, the House of Terror explores oppression in Hungary under the Nazi and Communist regimes.
Hungary has the dubious honour of being, at various times, both a Nazi and a Communist country. With these authoritarian regimes came repression: spying, prisons, torture, interrogations. The House of Terror [Terror Háza] is a museum dedicated to this state violence, set up in a building used as both Nazi and Communist headquarters.
With its black painted walls, bespoke grim music and claustrophobic corridors, the House of Terror will give you a taste of what it was like to be on the receiving end of government brutality. Especially memorable is the ride down to the basement in a very slow lift.
The various rooms of the House, spread over four floors, contain artefacts, original footage and more about the Nazi and Communist regimes. You’ll see torture cells and execution apparatus, and hear recordings of personal testimonies. Ultimately, the subject matter is dark, and the aim is to educate rather than entertain. The audio guides are excellent, and you may find it easier to follow them than trying to read the A4-size English information panels in each room.
Be prepared for rude staff, a common complaint on the review websites. Some have suggested that this is part of the act...
So no, it’s not a haunted house.