Founded in 2000 to retrace the history of totalitarianism in Hungary, the House of Terror is arguably the most controversial museum in Budapest.
What are the criticisms of the museum’s detractors? Is the House of Terror worth a visit? Here are the answers to your questions!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Budapest? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Budapest? Be sure to check out the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Budapest? Advice & recommendations
Planning your trip to Budapest? Take a look the Captain’s detailed article on the best things to do: A Guide to Budapest
A a few words about House of Terror
A museum dedicated to totalitarianism in Hungary
Created in 2000, the House of Terror ( Terror Háza in Hungarian) aims to retrace the history of the two totalitarian movements that marked Hungarian history in the 20 th century:
- The Arrow Cross movement , a Hungarian party sharing the Nazi ideology, in power between 1944 and 1945
- The soviet regime who took power in Hungary in 1945 and whose political police (AVH, Hungarian equivalent of the KGB) committed acts of terror from 1945 to 1956.
60 Andrassy Avenue
The House of Terror is housed at number 60, Andrassy Avenue ( Andrássy út ), in a building that was the headquarters of the Arrow Cross Party before becoming the headquarters of the Soviet political police, the AVH from 1945 to 1956.
In 2000, under the government of Viktor Orbán, the building was turned into a museum.
Controversies & criticisms
Before visiting the House of Terror, it is important to understand that the museum is at the heart of a vast controversy.
Its detractors accuse the museum of mixing up the atrocities committed by the Nazis and those perpetrated by the communist regime. The museum’s detractors accuse Viktor Orbán of having created the House of Terror in Budapest for personal and political ends, with the aim of harming the Communist Party, which remains a major player on the Hungarian political chessboard and therefore one of Orbán’s main political opponents.
Moreover, if on paper, the Museum traces the history of both totalitarian movements in Hungary, only a very small section of the House of Terror is actually dedicated to the crimes committed by the Arrow Cross Party. The vast majority of the exhibition is devoted to the Soviet regime. And some specialists consider the version of the story told by the museum to be partial and biased.
Visiting the House of Terror in Budapest
Sensitive should definitely refrain from visiting the House of Terror in Budapest! The visit is quite immersive and chilling: the macabre scenography aims to shake visitors and arouse a feeling of uneasiness.
The facade of the building sets the tone, with its black frame displaying the word “Terror” next to the symbol of the Arrow Crosses and the Communist Star. Black and white portraits of victims of the two totalitarian regimes are also displayed on the building.
Inside, the experience is multisensory and immersive: disturbing soundtrack, videos, photographs, reproductions …
The visit ends with a descent into the bowels of the building to discover the cells hidden in the cellars. This is where the political police imprisoned, interrogated and tortured the regime’s prisoners.
Getting to the House of Terror in Budapest
To visit the House of Terror, head for the 6 th district of Budapest, in the neighborhood of Terézváros, just a 10 minute walk from the Budapest Opera House.
You can’t miss the House of Terror as its facade starkly contrasts with the colorful and picturesque buildings on the Andrassy Avenue.
The nearest public transports are:
- Metro : Vörösmarty utca station (line M1)
- Tram: Oktogon stop (lines 4 or 6)
Hop-on hop-off tourist buses also stop near the House of Terror. They’re quite handy to travel between the main sites and monuments of the capital.
👉 For more info, click here
Opening hours of the House of Terror in Budapest
The House of Terror is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and on public holidays.
Admission tickets for the House of Terror are: 3000 forints full price, 1500 forints reduced price. You can also opt for an audio guide for an additional cost of 1,500 forints.
Please note that the Budapest Card grants a 20% reduction on the admission ticket.
👉 If you want to find out more about the history of the communist regime in Hungary, Captain Ulysses recommends this guided tour with a historian guide (in English) .
🤔 The Captain’s opinion 🤔
Be careful, while the visit to the House of Terror is not without interest, it is important to keep in mind that it is very controversial and does not present history in an objective and factual way. It is therefore better to exercise critical judgment and discernment!
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: if you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Expedia. You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital. The Captain recommends in particular:
– tight budget: Avenue Hostel
– intermediate budget: Agape Apartments
– to treat yourself: Hotel Moments Budapest
🎟️ Activities: as for booking visits and tourist activities, Captain Ulysses recommends three websites: GetYourGuide, Tiqets and Civitatis. Guided tours, cruises, skip-the-line tickets, tourist activities… there’s plenty to choose from!
🎫 Citypass: If you are staying in Budapest for several days, you might want to consider investing in the Budapest Card. It includes free public transport, free entrance to the Lukacs Spa, two guided tours, free entrance to 17 museums, as well as numerous discounts.
🚐 Transfers: Budapest airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city. If you want to take a load off your mind, you can book a private transfer into Budapest’s city centre from the airport. A car will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in the city. Find out more: airport transfer.
🚌Transport in Budapest: Budapest’s public transport system is well-developped and quite easy to navigate: metro, bus, tram and even ferry. If you wish, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Rome (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.
✈️ Flights: Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.