I read briefly about the Labyrinth in Budapest and decided oh, why not, let’s check it out. The one tidbit about the attraction that caught my attention the most was that it was where the actual historical figure Count Dracula was once imprisoned. A lot people don’t even know that Count Dracula was a real person, beyond the vampire mythology.
On my second day in Budapest, after a quick tour through Matthias Church on the Buda side of the river, I walked through the narrow and winding streets of the Castle District and made my way to the Labyrinth. Did I also mention that it was raining? It was. So I was happy to a) get out of the rain and b) the rain made the labyrinth all the more creepy.
Nope, not creepy at all.
Pro-tip: If you really want to be scared out of your mind, go on a Friday night. I was told that after 6pm on Friday they shut off ALL of the already very minimal lighting and give everyone gas lanterns instead. I love the feeling of being scared sometimes but that would’ve been too much for even me. Anyways, I hustled out of the rain, paid my admission and walked through the turnstiles into the Labyrinth.
As I said before, if there was a minimalist award given for lighting, the Labyrinth would win, hands down. As you wander through the brick pathways, you see old, covered up wells, locked jail cells, pillars from the 15th century, some period-appropriate costumes on donation from a Hungarian theatre company, and towards the end you’ll come across what’s called the “Maze of Darkness.”
Nope, nope, nope.
The Maze of Darkness is a totally pitch black part of the Labyrinth that I guess they just thought tourists would like to walk down for fun. The “official” reason why it’s completely dark is to “put our senses to the test” when our vision is impaired, but I’m sticking by my assumption that they just want to scare the shit out of tourists.
After I took a picture of sign and quickly glanced into the darkness and thought “hell no,” an older gentleman walked out quickly and started ranting that there were two teenagers inside, hiding in the darkness and scaring people. He went on for a few minutes and I smiled and nodded and he eventually walked away.
After that quick intermission, I found Dracula’s cell. I learned that he was imprisoned for marrying the niece of St. Stephen without his permission. He was imprisoned in this cell in the Labyrinth for a year.
I did not except this to freak me out as much as it did but I’m very glad I went to check it out. How many people can say they’ve seen the cell where Count Dracula lived?