Panoptikum Budapest – Budapest, Hungary - Atlas Obscura

Panoptikum Budapest

A series of caves under Castle Hill that once held the prisoner Vlad Tepes, better known as Count Dracula. 


The Labyrinth beneath Budapest’s Castle Hill is where Vlad Tepes was held captive and tortured for 14 years, starting in 1463. We remember him now as Vlad the Impaler, better known as “Count Dracula” (though the tale is only fiction).

For the forint equivalent of about six euros, you can walk through the Labyrinth tunnels. There’s no map or guidebook; you simply follow a few incoherent signs through foggy, damp chambers dotted with mannequins dolled up as characters from the Phantom of the Opera.

About midway, you’ll come to the Maze of Darkness. Hold onto the green garden hose and walk through pitch blackness for about five minutes. Don’t let go of the hose, or you’ll end up lost amongst historical prison cells that haven’t been remodeled yet to be safe for tourists. 

Toward the end, you’ll walk past “Dracula’s chamber,” where a coffin is cast in eerie blue light. You can also try out some rusty shackles bolted to the wall and a “torture cage” that may or may not be safe to climb into.

The Labyrinth is still a bit of hidden gem right in the center of the most touristed part of Budapest. This one ain’t kid friendly. 

Update: The original Labyrinth of Buda Castle closed in 2011 following a police raid. A new attraction called Panoptikum has opened in its place.

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