Budapest’s Labyrinth of Horror
The Labyrinth of Buda Castle is a vast cave system underneath the Castle Hill, which was formed by the effect of hot water springs millions of years ago. Today, it is named one of the 7 Underground Wonders of the World. But mainly, it is a place of horrors of the past – or so I thought…
Apart from giving shelter to the prehistoric man, it is a creepy place, that mainly served as torture chambers and jails. The caves have been transformed into cellars, since the 15th century. The Labyrinth-structure grew as the caves and cellars underneath the Castle Hill Houses were connected. The Gothic houses above, are all marked by a well inside the Labyrinth.
The Labyrinth has had many unpleasant guests. Such as the Turkish military in the 16th century, which left female skeletons, some walled in and some thrown into the wells.
The greatest creep of all times, Vlad Tepes – Count Dracula himself – was held prisoner here. But was not impaled – a method of horrifying torture and death, that Count Dracula chose to give thousands of people. He was actually popular known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’.
In the 19th century, a ghost was said to live in the Labyrinth. The locals called this wandering apparition the Black Count.
Finally, the military used the spooky Labyrinth as a hospital during WWII. I was ready to walk the paths of horror and meet some serious spirits of the dead.
The Labyrinth is more than 1200m, and has different paths. Due to lack of accessible logistics, such as signs, descriptions of the various paths or cellars, we sort of walked aimlessly through it.
Here goes your map. Good luck.
Passing creepy or cheesy (depending on your mood) wax figures in cages, dressed in carnival-opera garb. I am not sure about the sex of the wax-person to the right, nor why those wax-people were there. Definitely an odd thing at the Labyrinth.
After the opera show, we found a closed door, which, to our surprise and truthfully, sheer delight, was not locked – a clear case of must-not-miss chance, to enhance the scary side of the Labyrinth. As we walked down the stairs and through a lower level of the cellars, in total darkness – okay, following the spot light of our phone-flash-light – it got really frightening. Especially, when Tomek, creating
extreme horror romanticism, turned the light off. All I could sense was the moist air, puddles of water and the grossly wet walls.
It was too gloomy, to be true. I was playing your stereotypical scared woman from the horror movies, clinging to my man’s hand and Tomek was playing your stereotypical brave man from the horror movies, making sure his woman is safe and sound. Surrounded by total darkness, I really didn’t want our adventure to end and hoped for another door to, something like, well… Narnia.
Welcome back to the real world. We did not get to walk into Hollywood’s horror but through another door, leading straight back to the entrance of the Labyrinth.
“I am telling you, it’s the other way! Babe, I got this. Trust me.”
“But I am sure it’s this way! Look there is a well. And… someone.”
The past weeks of intensively watching Japanese Horror, finally paid off. The Japanese horror film RINGU, introduced us to the story of Sadako Yamamura, a Japanese girl with supernatural powers, who projects a deadly message via a video tape. Whoever watches it, dies, after exactly seven days.
Sadako haunts her victims, her face covered by her long hair, approaching her victim with zombie like movements. Sadako had a tough childhood – being thrown down a well, she survived. The horror highlights. So it seems, that Sadako has found herself a new well at the Labyrinth in Budapest.
That does make sense, because in Budapest the Universe works in mysterious ways…
FAQs: Despite this officially looking website: www.labirintus.com, claiming that ‘the Labyrinth is permanently closed’ due to a ‘police raid’ (very strange/hoax?) – the Labyrinth is definitely open – just like this site says, which is just as officially looking: www.labirintusbudapest.hu.
The entrance is located at Úri utca 9 at Buda Castle Hill. The entrance fee is 2000 FT per person. Right now, you can also see an exhibition, called Marvelous Caves of the World. You are not provided with a map or info brochure. But then, you are supposed to find your own way, even if that means missing cave parts – it’s a LABYRINTH after all.