City guide

Free events and formal ceremonies honour the 1956 Uprising

Photo : We Love Budapest

Tomorrow, 23 October, many historic locations welcome the public with free attractions to commemorate the uprising by Hungarians against the Soviet regime on this day in 1956. This national holiday starts with a solemn flag-raising ceremony outside Parliament on Kossuth tér, followed by various museum openings and concerts. Events also take place today, Tuesday, in synch with the historic happenings 63 years ago. Most of the city’s shops and businesses close tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 October

Photo: Lajos Sóos / MTI

A memorial ceremony at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics – the venue that served as a significant site during the 1956 events – takes place at 2pm, before a procession sets off at 4.30pm from outside the building. Students dressed in the clothes of the time march along the Danube riverfront, continue to Szent Gellért tér, Várkert rakpart, Ybl Miklós tér, Clark Ádám tér, Fő utca, before reaching Bem tér, where the procession concludes at 5.30pm with speeches.

 

Live bands start up there from 6pm and video projections are screened around the walls of nearby buildings.

 

Wednesday, 23 October

Photo: Zoltán Máthé / MTI

At 9am, Hungary’s national flag will be hoisted above Kossuth tér in front of Parliament . Spectacular military processions and dynamic drumbeats complement the dramatic ceremony.

 

Around Kossuth tér, there will be plenty of child-friendly attractions, such as a climbing wall, a retro tram exhibition and café offering the kind of dishes themed around 1956.

 

Between 10am and 5pm, free guided tours walk groups around Hungary’s neo-Gothic Parliament to view some of the building’s most impressive sites, including the Grand Stairway, the central Dome Hall and the Holy Crown of Hungary. Registration is not required to join these tours, but lengthy queues are expected. For more information, visit the Parliament’s official website.

House of TerrorPhoto: Norbert Juhász / We Love Budapest

Elsewhere in town, the House of Terror Museum will be free to enter. Housed within the former secret police headquarters of the State Security Office, this unsettling exhibition focuses on the atrocities that occurred in Hungary under the post-war Communist regime. The museum is open from 10am to 6pm and free entrance is provided for visitors who register at the ticket office inside the building. Candles will be lit on Heroes’ Wall outside.

 

Up in the Castle District, the Museum of Military History awaits visitors with free admission between 9am and 5pm, as well as tin-soldier painting for children and screenings of documentaries relating to 1956.

 

From 7pm at the Millenáris Park, a number of live acts will be performing a Freedom Concert, including Hungarian rockers Honeybeast and the folk-oriented Szabó Balázs Band. Admission is free but concertgoers need to register here.