Communist Budapest: The “Happiest Barrack” in the Soviet Bloc Tour
- Listen about communism from an expert historian.
- Learn about Budapest's “goulash communism”.
- Visit the site of a significant uprising: Bem József Square.
- Walk around the Kossuth square and its revolution monuments.
- Visit the former People’s Stadium (now Puskas Soccer Stadium).
- Enjoy a ride in one of “Stalin’s trolley buses”.
- Stroll through the monotonous totalitarian housing estates from the 1970s.
This tour will take you through the two faces of Hungarian communism: Stalinism and Kadarism. The people of Hungary were not pleased when Soviet dictator Josef Stalin assisted the communist party in gaining power in 1948. A few years later, in 1956, there was an uprising that was brutally put down. However, the new leader at the time, János Kádár, changed the law to allow for a softer dictatorship. Certain luxuries were permitted as long as important issues were not contested. As a result, decades of "goulash communism" and Hungary's reputation as "the happiest barrack in the Soviet Bloc" began. Your tour will take you through pivotal moments in this bizarre period of development and tyranny.
Your tour will begin in Bem József Square, the location of the 1956 uprising. The square is home to a coffee shop with a 1960s-era interior. Then, you will take the subway to Kossuth Square in front of Parliament to see the various monuments dedicated to the 1956 revolution's conflicts. Following that, you'll proceed to Freedom Square, where four structures represent the Cold War: the US embassy, a monument to the Soviet army, President Ronald Reagan's statue, and the entrance to a secret atomic bomb shelter. From there, you'll take the subway to the city's outskirts housing estates. By today's standards, these 1960 structures are dull and boring, but modern conveniences were unknown at the time of their construction, and families rejoiced in their good fortune if they got to live there. You'll also get to see a communist-era shopping center nearby.
The former People's Stadium will be the next stop on your tour (now Puskas Soccer Stadium). The typical socialist statues of strong workers, soldiers, and scholars, all indicating a brighter future, can still be found here. You'll then take a quick ride on one of "Stalin's trolley buses" (it'll make sense, don't worry) to Dozsa György Street, which has historically been used for May Day parades. You'll be able to see the difference between the city's current layout and its previous communist style using iPads and old photos. It's an incredible way to comprehend the changes that have occurred in this city since communism's demise.
Finally, your tour will come to a close at the House of Terror. This museum is housed in the former secret service headquarters of the fascist and Stalinist regimes. With a slab of the Berlin Wall on display outside, the building stands as a symbol of communism's wrongdoings.
- 3-hour guided walk
- Historian as tour guide
- Tram and metro tickets
Budapest, Frankel Leó út 5, 1027 Hungary
Bambi Eszpresszó, Budapest, Frankel Leó út 2/4, 1027 Hungary
What to Remember
Your guide will help you to purchase Budapest tram and metro tickets if you do not already have a visitor pass.
Thursday and Friday at 2.00pm
Tuesday and Saturday at 10.00am
Good news! No extra fees are applied to this booking.
Receive a 100% refund if you cancel up to 24 hours before the tour begins.