Hungary prefers not to think about the dark days of
communism anymore – that’s why, when the Berlin Wall fell, Budapest dismantled
all its statues from their plinths throughout the city and moved them to
Szobor, or Memento Park.
The Statue Park (which forms a part of Memento Park as a
whole) is now an open air museum, in which you can check out relics from the
four decades of communism suffered by Hungary (from 1949-89) – think giant
statues of the likes of Lenin, Marx and Engels dotted around the greenery.
The park opened June 29 1993 and contains 42 works of art.
As well as statues of famous figures from the communist movement, there are
allegorical works of “Hungarian-Soviet Friendship” and “Liberation”. They’re hard-hitting
statues, in line with the harsh lines of Soviet architecture.
There’s also a replica of the huge pedestal for the 8-meter
high statue of Stalin which stood in central Budapest until it was pulled down
in 1956 (only the boots remained).
It’s not all outside – there’s an exhibition detailing the
1956 revolution and the fall of Communism, as well as a documentary film about
the secret police. And it’s not all bleak – the park plays host to festivals,
art projects and other cultural events.
According to the architect, Ákos Eleőd: “This Park is about
dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described
and built up, this Park is about democracy. After all, only democracy can
provide an opportunity to think freely about dictatorship.”
Of course, there’s also the “Red Star Store” for all your
communist kitsch – though after such a sober experience, we can’t guarantee
that you’ll be feeling it.