The war, the cave, the hospital

Budapest, Hungary. Now a museum, but earlier one of the few original hospitals in a cave. The Sziklakorhaz, the Hospital in the Rock, the Felsenkrankenhaus.

1944, 1945 and 1956.
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Pics: Main entrance and operating theatre 1944. More photos here.
By now we learned from the stories of codoureyrocks that healthcare can be provided almost everywhere. In a cave too. Because its hidden, save and represents a logical space for emergency health it is often connected to a military use.

World War II
Jurisdiction: Saint John’s Hospital
Location: Under the castle hill of Budapest, about 2300 m2 space
Cave: About 10km natural cave system
First room: Air Raid Alarm Control Centre “K” – 1937 till 1945
Official opening: 20th february 1944
Equipment: 3 wards (1 for women), 1 operating theatre, own generators for electricity
94 beds
After the war: Vaccine-producing Institution – 1945 till 1948

Revolution 1956
Re-opening of the hospital in the rock for civilians and soldiers
Birthrate: 6 boys and 1 girl during revolution
Re-closing: December 1956
After the revolution: Ready as a Hospital, Nuclear Bunker and Civil Defence Forces Store as well as theatre performances

Re-opening as a exhibition facility: 11th march 2008.
Short movie by the museum. Short movie by BudapestTourism.

Similar facilites exist in the Swiss mountains and for instance as a museum too in Vietnam, the Cave Hospital on Cat Ba Island (movie by rustycompass here).
In Switzerland still today some of the hospitals have so called underground GOPS facilities – protected/secret operation theatres – Geschützte oder Geheime Operationsstellen (originally about 250 facilities and 40 military hospitals).

Underground healthcare. Fascinating, mysterious and the magnetic power of many told and untold stories. Maybe a place where hospitals re-emerge in the future.
Maurice Codourey

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