The Memento Park is a must-see, when in Budapest. It contains a raft of discarded sculptures from the communist era.
In the category ‘rareties’ the Memento Park, in the outskirts of Budapest, scores pretty high. Already at the entrance we are being treated by communist music meant to uplift the worker’s spirit. Is puts us in the right state of mind for this unique collection.
At the time communism ended, with the fall of the Berlin wall and all the subsequent Soviet-supported regimes – and with the fall of many of the statues and plaques honouring the communist heroes and the eternal Soviet-Hungarian friendship – somebody real smart thought of collecting all those toppled sculptures. And when the time was ripe, put them together in a sculpture park, as a memory to forgone times. Everywhere else in the world a statue of Lenin, let alone Stalin, would be frowned upon, would be unacceptable, really, but not here, in the Memento Park (well, and in Kyrgyzstan we also saw plenty of Lenin sculpture remaining, but that’s another, distant country).
There is no real structure to the park, and the exhibited sculptures. They are Hungarian, and they all relate to the friendship between the Soviet Union and Hungary, to the liberation of the country by the Soviets, to the heroes that stood up subsequently – after 1945, but also after the brutal crush of Hungarian liberal uprising in 1956 -, and even to the heroes of the short lived Hungarian Communist Republic from Bela Kun, in 1919. In fact, the Bela Kun memorial, for his 100th birthday, is perhaps artistically one of the better pieces; many others are pretty crude, but functional nevertheless – at the time.
Great place to spend some time, this collection.
(and do buy the visitor’s guide to the park, “In the Shadow of Stalin’s Boots”, which is, with its unique photos and extensive background information, much more than just a guide)
Next we go inti the Bend of the Danube, first Szentendre