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Castle bath ("Gyulai Várfürdő") - Gyula, Hungary
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Terézváros, the Andrássy Avenue in early spring - Budapest, Hungary

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GPS coordinates: Latitude 47°30'30", Longitude 19°4'4" (N47 30.5 - E19 4.07) Map

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House of Terror Museum (in Hungarian "Terror Háza Múzeum") - Budapest, Hungary House of Terror Museum (in Hungarian "Terror Háza Múzeum")

The House of Terror Museum ("Terror Háza Múzeum") on the Andrássy Anenue is an often recommended tourist destination, probably not without reason. The institution was established in 2002 and contains exhibitions about the 20th-century Hungarian and European dictatorial regimes (primarily the Communism and the Fascism). The other main target ot the museum is to preserve the memory of the victims of these regimes as well.

The "career" of the building began relatively prosaically: it was built in 1880 as an apartment building, designed by Adolf Feszty in the then fashionable renaissance revival (neo-renaissance) style. In 1932 the then owner Hungarian-Jewish painter Izsák Perlmutter (1866-1932) bequeathed the building to the Hungarian Jewish Museum and the Israelite (Jewish) Community of Pest. But then in 1937 the members of the Hungarian National Socialist Movement, the notorious Ferenc Szálasi and his company started to rent premises here. In 1940 this house at 60 Andrássy Avenue became the headquarters of the Arrow Cross Party Hungarist Movement ("Nyilaskeresztes Párt") that existed between 1939-1945 was evolved from the group of Szálasi. Soon prisons and torture chambers were created within the building for everybody who the Arrow Cross Party considered to be persona non grata (undesirable person) or their enemy.

At the end of World War II the Soviet troops arrived in Hungary, but instead of liberation it meant just another and really long occupation. The Soviets very soon forced their Communist ideology to Hungary (just like to the other satellite states). Of course there were some Hungarian people who helped them to realize it, and these together determinated the fate of the country for long period. In 1945 the building of the present-day House of Terror Museum was acquired by the political police, that ensured the power of the Communists and realized the state terror. Some years later it was still used by the successor organizations: from 1946 the State Security Department (in Hungarian "Államvédelmi Osztály" or ÁVO), then between 1948-1956 the State Protection Authority ("Államvédelmi Hatóság" or ÁVH). In those times many rooms were transformed to prison cells, interrogation or torture rooms, and when there was a lack of space in this building, the basements of the surrounding buildings were started to be used for this reason. A complete cellar prison system was developed for the political and other prisoners. The secret police worked quite similar as in Stalin's Soviet Union or the present-day North Korea, just in somewhat smaller scale.

Finally in 1956 the ÁVH agency (the State Protection Authority) was ceased thanks to the de-Stalinization, and the building became the headquarter and office building of several state enterprises. The still Communist government tried to hide and dissemble every trace of the former activities, and it was successful for a long period. For example the prison in the basement of the building was converted to club rooms for the Hungarian Young Communist League (KISZ) that was founded in 1957.

The reconstruction and coversion to a museum was done by the plans of János Sándor architect and Attila Ferenczfy-Kovács interior designer, it was opened for the public in 2002. The general director is Mária Schmidt historian from the beginning, the main professional guidelines and the conception of the exhibitions are mostly thanks to her.

The Art Nouveau (secessionist) style Schanzer Villa - Budapest, Hungary The Art Nouveau (secessionist) style Schanzer Villa

One of the Art Nouveau jewels of the Andrássy Avenue is the ten-and-a-half-room Schanzer Villa (residence). Sometimes it is incorrectly called Schwanzer Villa, but the first owner who the building was named after was Ignác Schanzer, a timber merchant from Szolnok. The building was designed by Frigyes Spiegel, who was the architect and the interior designer in one, built between 1907-1908 (probably based on an earlier plan of Bloch and Holitscher architects). There was an auditorium and a bar on the attic-floor in the loft, as well as a restaurant in the basement. About the Bányász Villa, that stood on its site until 1906 unfortunately nothing can be known (no any record or photograph remained), except it was designed by Frigyes Feszl and built between 1882-1883.

The palace was owned by the Embassy of Turkey between 1900-1921, then after changing several owners between 1940-1945 the state gave it to the Hungarian Chamber Of Press ("Országos Magyar Sajtókamara") by a decree. Between 1945-1947 it was the headquarters of the Soviet military officer Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, then for long time it was the head office of the Association of Hungarian Journalists (in "Hungarian Magyar Újságírók Országos Szövetsége" or MÚOSz).

The building was announced for sale in 2006 and since 2008 it was unused and vacant. Then at the end of 2014 it was bought by the Hungarian Academy of Arts ("Magyar Művészeti Akadémia" or MMA) conservative public body probably for more than 1.7 billion of public funds, therefore the building was indirectly nationalized.

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