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The true face of war up close: the astonishing Hospital in the Rock

The Hospital in the RockBudapestGreater Budapest

Gaze into the lesser-known face of bloody wars: head to the Hospital in the Rock, located in Buda’s mystical cave system. The hospital played a prominent role for Hungarians during the most turbulent periods of the 20th century: it cared for thousands of the wounded during World War II and the revolution of 1956 against Stalinist terror, and was later repurposed as a nuclear bunker to protect against a potential nuclear attack. One thing is for sure: this hospital bore ...

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The true face of war and the value of peace: this is what the Hospital in the Rock wants to show you

Plunge into the bloodcurdling and thrilling world of war medicine and civil defence! Explore the exhibition, which covers over 2,000 square metres. The Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum is located in the heart of Budapest, under Buda Castle. Its claim to fame is having functioned as an emergency facility during the Second World War and the 1956 revolution, when the Hungarian people revolted against the Stalinist dictatorship. With the original furniture, hospital equipment and more than 200 lifelike wax figures, we guarantee you’ll have a realistic and unforgettable experience.

Did you know that the hospital was classified as top secret in the early 1950s? The institution was only able to rid itself of its "top secret facility" classification in 2002. A few years later, it finally opened its doors to the general public. Since then, the purpose of the Hospital in the Rock has been to show the true face of war and highlight the value of peace, and to faithfully commemorate the “everyday heroes” conscientiously serving their fellow human beings, even during the most difficult times.  

The shocking story of the Hospital in the Rock

The Hospital in the Rock has been witness to a number of disturbing events – here is the history of the hospital, broken down by period:


  • The Hospital in the Rock during World War II and the Revolution
    Constructed in the Buda underground cave system, the hospital came into active use after the American airstrikes in May 1944. It was tasked with general emergency care, and although the institution was considered remarkably modern at the time, the number of wounded patients soon exceeded its original capacity by a large margin. As a result, the doctors and nurses working there faced truly trying challenges day after day. The situation was no different during the 1956 revolution: hospital staff often had to risk their own lives to help their fellow human beings.
  • Vaccine production at the Hospital in the Rock
    The Virus Vaccine Production Institute operated at the Hospital in the Rock for a short while, producing vaccines against typhoid. The institution was classified as top secret after this activity was ended, in the early 1950s.
  • The Hospital in the Rock and the Cold War During the Cold War, the facility was expanded and secured to remain safe in the event of a chemical or nuclear attack on the country. Thus, the Hospital in the Rock became the only nuclear-safe hospital in Budapest.  

This is what it was like to be a patient at the Hospital in the Rock

During the war, the employees of the Hospital in the Rock were faced with extremely complex challenges. Civilian and military patients were mixed in the crowded wards, often on bunk beds pushed together due to lack of space. Some could only be accommodated on uncomfortable stretchers, or even straw sacks. After a while, the hospital experienced a severe shortage of both equipment and medication, and although having its own power supply was a huge advantage throughout, the mortality rate remained extremely high, due to constant supply shortages and epidemics. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the tenacious work of doctors and nurses at the Hospital in the Rock saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian soldiers and citizens.  

The awards of the Hospital in the Rock speak for themselves

If we still haven’t managed to convince you that the Hospital in the Rock is worth a visit, consider the following awards granted to the museum thus far:  

  • 2015, 2016 and 2018: Most Popular Hungarian Museum on Tripadvisor
  • 2014 and 2018: The European Museum of the Year Award (nomination)
  • 2014, 2018 and 2019 Pulszky Society – The Museum of the Year special award  


Visit the Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum, and experience at first hand the struggle to save lives amidst the turmoil of violent, life-changing events.