December 10, 2011

0 Budapest: Memento Park

Memento Park's website opens with a large banner "HERE ARE THE REMOVED COMMIE STATUES."  Really, that's it in a nutshell, but I'll try to give you a little more information.  We rode the tram and bus out to the park, taking advantage of our free municipal travel from our Budapest cards. I'll give more details on this travel in my Seven Tips.  The park was fascinating, definitely something I've never seen.  The stark landscape lends itself to the oversized monuments and the ability to walk right up to them towering overhead also gives a feeling of oppression.  The monuments are both on exhibit as near-comical monstrosities of modern history and yet still hold power as they loom above- for all of its simplicity, the park is a well-crafted symbol of what once was as well as what the future should be aware of.

The park was designed by Hungarian architect Ákos Eleőd in 1991, just two years after the fall of Hungary's Communist regime, and officially opened in 1993.  It stands as a resting place for many of the statues and monuments placed by the Communists in and around Budapest and also as a reminder of the oppression felt by the people of Budapest and Hungary during the regime.  Sadly, the Russian equivalent, Fallen Monument Park, will soon be demolished in favor of a mixed-use project space.

The entry to the park is through this imposing facade with statues of Lenin (left) and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (right).

This proud Red Army soldier once stood on Gellért Hill as part of the Liberation Monument.

Magyar-Soviet Friendship Monument

Liberation Monument

I'm pretty sure this one was a Liberation Memorial Stone.

Georgi Dimitrov

Georgi Dimitrov

Béla Kun, Jenő Landler, Tibo Szamuely Memorial


József Kalamár

Róbert Kreutz Memorial Plaque and János Asztalos Memorial Plaque

The Display of the Workers' Militia Monument and the Workers' and Soldiers' Council Memorial Plaque

The Hungarian Fighters' in the Spanish International Brigades Memorial

The Republic of Councils Monument- Paul is next to it so that you can see the enormity of the statue.

The Republic of Councils Pioneer Memorial Plaque

Ostapenko and Captain Steinmetz

Martyrs' Monument

The Heroes of the People's Power Memorial

The Béla Kun Memorial

Árpád Szakasits

Endre Ságvári 

Béla Kun Memorial Plaque

I believe this is one of the many Soviet Heroic Memorials.

Soviet-Hungarian Friendship

Stalin's boots as seen through the main facade.

Workers' Movement Memorial

The Buda Volunteers Regiment Memorial

Communist-era car.

Stalin's Boots Grandstand

A monument behind the grandstand.

A cast of Stalin's Boots inside the theatre.
The theatre also includes a video on how to be an upstanding citizen, complete with tips on how to covertly investigate your neighbors, how to report your neighbors' suspicious behaviors, and a full skit on the many ways the police investigate suspected parties.  The posters surrounding the boots describe the different major events that took place during Budapest's Communist era.

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