terror and comfort

Today I went to the Terror House in Budapest. This is a museum set up in the house which was the headquarters, first, of Hungary’s Nazis, who ruled brutally for a few months in 1944-45; and then of the Hungarian communist secret police, who (under the thumb of their Soviet masters) detained and tortured people on the basis of their beliefs from 1945 until 1989, but especially nastily in the period from 1945-1956, at the end of which Hungary exploded in a massive rebellion against Soviet rule. The revolt was put down and its leaders were hanged, but after that the Soviets went a little easier. Not much, though – they still had people spying on other people in their own families, and all manner of other nastiness. I don’t want to go into much more detail than this, other than to say that it was really sad and appalling…

Then this afternoon I went, by way of contrast, to some hot baths built by the Turks when they ruled Budapest around 450 years ago. They are called the Rudas baths, and they look like this:


except that they were full of men (some of them very fat) wandering and sitting around in little comical loincloths which didn’t really disguise anything, and what else you can’t see is that the old Turkish dome above the central dome is full of small holes, maybe 10 or 15 centimeters in diameter, which let the sun’s rays in; since some of these have stained glass in them, the effect is really quite beautiful. I had a great time sitting in the water pools of various temperatures in these beautiful surroundings, and just relaxing…

This entry was posted in misery for the many, freedom for the few, road and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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