One of the most fascinating things about visiting ex-Communist bloc countries is learning about how life was behind the iron curtain. My visit to Memento Park in Budapest gave me a glimpse into that dark period of Eastern European history.
During the Soviet Era in Hungary the cities were adorned with statues adulating the Soviet leaders, there were statues of Stalin, Marx, Engels and Lenin. In 1989 along with other Eastern Bloc countries Hungary shed the mantel of Communist dictatorship and started the long journey towards becoming a free country and part of free Europe. However there were still all the statues to remind people of the Soviet rule of terror.
And so the statues were torn down and a new location needed to be found for them. Memento Park was opened in 1993 and became the final resting place for the many Soviet statues from around the city. In all there are about 40 bronze and stone statues. The statues are not just of Russian and Hungarian Communist leaders but also of ideological concepts from the regime like heroic soldiers and hard working peasants.
The statues in the park are divided into sections: The Endless Parade of Liberation Monuments; The Wall Behind the Scenes; The Endless Parade of Personalities of the Workers Movement and The Unending Promenade of Worker’s Movement Concepts. Here are some photos of the remarkable statues on display.
The Memento Park or Statue Park is located on the corner of Alatoni Ut and Szabadkai Utca in the 22nd district of Budapest, Hungary. The park is slightly out of the city centre and to reach it you need to take a bus.
There is a direct bus which leaves from Deak Ter and the price of the bus ticket includes entry to the park and you return journey. This direct bus leaves daily at 11am and in July and August 11am and 3pm. alternatively there is the public bus number 150 which leaves from Fehervari Ut and Bocskai Ut every 20-30 minutes. The park is open daily from 10am and there are regular walking tours.
by Si Salter