Memento Park

Memento Park in Budapest, Hungary sometimes referred to as the communist museum is basically where old statues and icons go to die.

The history.

worker waving flag at memento park

At the end of the communist era in 1989 with the collapse of the iron curtain and the fall of the Berlin wall the majority of the communist state commissioned statues were almost instantaneously taken down as a way of Hungary disassociating itself from its soviet era past.

These statues were eventually gathered together and after 14 years in 1993 displayed in memento park. The grand opening was held on the 29 of June, exactly 10 years after the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the beginning of the end of the communist era.

Memento Park itself.

memento-park

The park itself is in a wide open area with the statues placed comfortably apart. You are left to freely wander around and explore at your leisure. The statues are very impressive and up close, they are full of that grandiose powerful sense of state and duty above all else. They are essentially an impressive yet overt from of state propaganda. When I went the park was almost empty creating a strange sense of dissociation with these lonely grand monuments to the power of the state.

Stalin’s boots.

Stalins boots at memento park
This interested me because it’s kind of weird, so I looked it up after.

It was originally an 8 foot tall statue of Joseph Stalin. Built in 1951 as a gift from the Hungarian people to celebrate his 70th Birthday. However during the 1956 uprising it was destroyed, protesters pulled it down and decapitated it. The only thing that remained were the boots which the protesters placed a Hungarian flag inside. I don’t know if these are the original boots but it is kind of neat.

Below a picture of the original statue from the 1950’s. More info from Wikipedia here.

Old black and white picture of a statue of Stalin
If you are ever in Budapest this place is definitely worth a visit. The park itself is great to walk through and get a real sense of history. The gift shop is also a marvel of weird kitsch such as Stalin shaped candles and Marx mouse mats

 

More images from Memento Park