What was life like during communist time in Hungary?
People very often think about those "poor ex-communist countries" as one grey block behind the iron curtain. But in reality we were very different. And in the end Hungary was the "happiest barrack"…
We had two distinct periods in communist Hungary: the dark years and the milder "Gulas-communism", before and after the 1956 uprising. The dark years were my parent's youth -and I grew up in the mild, even ridiculous communism-parody.
Through family-stories I will show you both faces of Hungarian communist times.
As a close friend wrote me in his letter in 1990: "nobody realises yet, but the world in which we grew up, will completely vanish forever…"
With a very happy childhood behind me, through these communist tours I also want to set a remembrance to these mild decades of Communist Hungary, when yes, it was possible to live a happy life.
We start out in the House of Terror: this eerie but excellent museum shows you the dark past of Hungary in those miserable years of total communist dictatorship - if you've taken George Orwell's book 1984 a far-fetched phantasy, you will change your mind. The House of Terror tells the story of Hungary in the 20th century in such an expressive, even provocative way, that it will remain a long lasting memory.
Then we visit the Liberty square and the area of the Parliament in the heart of Budapest, where statues, memorials and bullet holes will show you the story of 1956 Hungarian revolution against the communist dictatorship. Here I will explain how and why after the 1970s, Hungarian communist dictatorship gradually lost its power and control on people, turning into a bitter comedy. For example, we had to vote every 4 years, but the only party available was the communist party! We learned (and were allowed!) to laugh at ourselves… until the Hungarian communist system happily collapsed in 1989.
Meeting Location + Tour Duration
Meeting location: Please enter the name and address of your hotel and I'll pick you up there, or any preferred location in the city.
End location: City center or back to your hotel
Duration: 4 hours
As the House of Terror communist museum is not open on Mondays, try to book this tour on other days. If you can only do Monday, then we will replace House of Terror by the similar Memento Park. In that case, transport to Memento Park is not included in price!
This is a walking tour.
Pick up at hotel, private guided tour with commentaries in English (French, German or Hungarian), dropping you off at your desired destination at the end of the tour.
Estimated Local Cash Needed
4000 HUF - Approx 20 USD/person: Entrance fees
If you want to ride the old communist Trabant car, there will be an additional 40-50 USD fee/max 4 people.
Public transport, food, drink, entrance fees and tickets if applicable
Entrance fee to the "House of Terror" communist exhibition:
A Recent Review of this tour
Read More Reviews For This Tour
Enthusiastic, knowledgable, and intuitive, Katalin provided a wonderfully narrated history of Hungary through a decade of turbulent history. Her interpretation was balanced and thoughtful, helping us to build on our limited understanding of history and gave us many other perspectives to consider. She tailored the tour to our Interests and needs. Above all, Katy was kind, patient and friendly. We have toured many countries and have had the benefit of many wonderful guides. Katalin is the best.
Virginia Rowden Wright