Hospital in the Rock

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Hospital in the Rock

The Hospital in the Rock (Hungarian: Sziklakórház) is the name given to a hospital created in the caverns under Buda Castle in Budapest in the 1930s, in preparation for the Second World War.

In the 1930s, the hospital system was connected to the main tunnel system by manual labour. The main system had been in use by various inhabitants of the castle for many years, and was said to have been part of a penal system in centuries past.

The hospital saw its most heavy use during the 1944–45 Siege of Budapest, where it processed the wounded and the dead. The dead were sent out of the hospital at night and buried in bomb craters. The hospital was without food or medicine for some points during the siege, with hospital staff having to recycle supplies by taking them from corpses and sterilizing them before reuse. Eventually, horses were brought in and killed at the facility for food. The facility was designed to treat 60–70 patients, but at one point it was being used to treat 600 wounded soldiers.

After the siege, the hospital was only used once more in 1956 in response to the uprising against the Soviet rule. After that, the hospital was repurposed as a nuclear bunker, but one dedicated to keeping 200 doctors and nurses safe and available to treat the wounded. Nobody ever took up residence in the bunker, except for a caretaker and his wife. Because of this, the hospital museum now has a collection of anti-radiation kits, as well as some Soviet spying equipment, on display.

In recent times, the hospital has been made into a museum, complete with waxwork recreations of hospital treatments and day-to-day scenarios during the siege. Access to the museum is limited to guided tours. Old equipment that was left over from its operational days is available for sale, including stretchers and civil protection uniforms.

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