Hidden among the nearly six miles of natural caves and tunnels beneath Buda Castle Hill is the Hospital in the Rock Museum, which preserves the history and rooms of a secret underground hospital that was later turned into a nuclear fallout shelter.
During World War II some of the fortified caves beneath Budapest’s Buda Castle were being used as an air raid shelter but the Mayor of the city saw more than a defensive use for the facility. A secret surgical hospital was built under the hill which ministered to victims of the war both during and after formal hostilities were underway. In 1958, with the fear of Cold War WMD’s gripping countries across the globe, the hospital was expanded to include shelters from both nuclear and chemical attack. Luckily the shelters never had to be used, and eventually the facility was opened to the public as a museum in 2008.
Today the Hospital in the Rock Museum lets guests wander through the cramped operating theaters and machinery filled nuclear bunkers, all of which have been restored to their wartime conditions. Gruesome (and not a little creepy) mannequins reenact medical scenes and visitors can even take part in a competitive nuclear readiness drill against other tourists.
The Hospital in the Rock is just one section of the miles of tunnel beneath Buda Castle, with other sections being taken up by wonders such as the Labyrinth, but the hospital museum may be the most historically enlightening.