Memento Park

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Memento Park: The Biggest Statues of the Cold War
Main entrance of the Memento Park.JPG
Main entrance with Lenin, Marx and Engels
Type Historical theme park
Location Budapest, Hungary
Created 1993

Memento Park is an open air museum in Budapest, Hungary, dedicated to monumental statues from Hungary's Communist period (1949–1989). There are statues of Lenin, Marx, and Engels, as well as several Hungarian Communist leaders. The park was designed by Hungarian architect Ákos Eleőd, who won the competition announced by the Budapest General Assembly (Fővárosi Közgyűlés) in 1991.

A quote by the architect on the project: "This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship."[1]

Memento Park is divided into two sections: Statue Park, officially named “A Sentence About Tyranny” Park after a poem of the same name by Gyula Ilyés, and Witness Square (also called "Neverwas Square"). Statue Park houses 42 of the statues that were removed from Budapest after the fall of communism.[1] Witness Square holds a replica of Stalin's Boots which became a symbol of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 after the statue of Stalin was pulled down from its pedestal in 1956.

Participants of a "Red Star Tour" in the Memento Park

History[edit]

After the fall of the Communist regime in Hungary in 1989, many of the Communist statues and monuments were immediately removed. These formed the basis for the current collection of statues in the park. On June 29, 1993, the second anniversary of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Hungarian territory, the park celebrated a grand opening as a public outdoor museum.

2006 marked a new chapter in the history of Memento Park. A life-sized copy of the tribune of the Stalin Monument in Budapest was built in the Statue Park with the broken bronze shoes on top of the pedestal. This is not an accurate copy of the original but only an artistic recreation by Ákos Eleőd.

In 2007 a new exhibition hall and a small movie theater were opened in the Witness Square of Memento Park. The photo exhibition called “Stalin’s Boots” in the exhibition hall takes the viewer through the history of the 1956 revolution, of the political changes of 1989-1990 and of Memento Park, with both English and Hungarian captions. In the barracks-theater one can see The Life of an Agent, a documentary on the methods used by the secret police, directed by Gábor Zsigmond Papp. The film is shown in Hungarian with English subtitles.[2]

Quotes on Memorilization[edit]

  • “…I studied the plans of the Memento Park project with great interest. I find it a promising plan to keep our historical memory alive and to strengthen citizens’ sense of responsibility and commitment to sustain democracy." -- Zoltán Pokorni, Minister of Education (1998-2001)


  • “The question of the Statue Park is of historical significance. It is an extremely sensitive and complex issue, a special task for the artist to express in the language of architectural design.

    A chief merit of “One Sentence on Tyranny” – Park is the dignity with which it treats its theme: by refusing to sacrifice its historical significance to the ever-changing powers of daily politics… with its grand design concept and disturbed peacefulness it serves as an example for solving a controversial problem in an intelligent and elegant manner.”-- István Schneller, Chief Architect of Budapest (1994-2006)[3]


  • "These statues are a part of the history of Hungary. Dictatorships chip away at and plaster over their past in order to get rid of all memories of previous ages. Democracy is the only regime that is prepared to accept that our past with all the dead ends is still ours; we should get to know it, analyse it and think about it!

    All of the statues, therefore, were positioned according to the original sculptural and architectural plans. This park is not about the statues or the sculptors, but a critique of the ideology that used these statues as symbols of authority.

    I realised that if I made this park with more direct, drastic and real tools, as many thought I should, I would create an anti-propaganda park from these propaganda statues and in doing this, I would be faithfully following the same recipe and mentality that we inherited from dictatorship."-- Ákos Eleőd, Architect.[4]

Sculptures, monuments and plaques[edit]

The Wall behind the Scenes[edit]

Sculpture name
(Original name)
Author Year Construction material Original location
Lenin
(Lenin)
Pátzay Pál 1965 bronze Felvonulási tér (parallel to Dózsa György street and beside the Városliget city park)
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
(Marx és Engels)
Segesdi György 1971 granite from Mauthausen V. ker. Jászai Mari square (at the main entrance of the communist party headquarters)

The Endless Parade of Liberation Monuments[edit]

Sculpture name
(Original name)
Author Year Construction material Original location
Red army soldier statue
(Felszabadító szovjet katona)
Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl 1947 bronze Part of the Liberation Monument at the top of the Gellért Hill
Hungarian-Soviet Friendship Memorial
(A magyar-szovjet barátság emlékműve)
Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl 1956 bronze X. Pataki square (today Szent László square)
Liberation Monument
(Felszabadulási emlékmű)
Kiss István 1971 limestone XIV. Thököly street 141.
Liberation Memorial Stone
(Felszabadulási emlékkő)
Unknown 1960 stone I. Dísz square
Soviet Heroic Memorial
(Szovjet hősi emlékmű)
László Péter 1951 limestone XII. Széchenyi hegy, Rege park
Soviet-Hungarian Friendship
(Szovjet-magyar barátság emlékműve)
Búza Barna 1975 pyrogranit X. Kőbánya-Óhegy, Barátság park
Soviet Heroic Memorial
(Szovjet hősi emlékmű)
Mikus Sándor 1970 bronze XVI. Rákosszentmihály, Hősök tere (Heroes' Square)
Soviet Heroic Memorial
(Felszabadulási emlékmű)
Kalló Viktor 1965 bronze XIII. Béke square
Soviet Heroic Memorial
(Szovjet Hősi emlékmű)
Megyeri Barna 1948 limestone XVII. Kasztel András street

The Endless Parade of Personalities of the Workers Movement[edit]

Sculpture name
(Original name)
Author Year Construction material Original location
Lenin Relief
(Lenin-emléktábla)
Szabó Iván 1970 bronze VII. Lenin square (today Erzsébet square)
Georgi Dimitrov bust
(Dimitrov mellszobor)
Jordan Kracsmarov 1954 bronze V. Dimitrov square (today Fővám square)
Georgi Dimitrov statue
(Dimitrov szobor)
Valentin Sztarcsev 1983 bronze V. Dimitrov square (today Fővám square)
Béla Kun, Jenő Landler and Tibor Szamuely Memorial
(Munkásmozgalmi harcosok emlékműve)
Olcsai-Kiss Zoltán, Herczeg Klára, Farkas Aladár 1967 bronze VIII. Kun Béla square (today Ludovika square)
Lenin
(Lenin)
Unknown soviet statue 1958 bronze XXI. Csepel, Vasmű (Iron Works) main entrance
József Kalamár Bust
(Kalamár József mellszobor)
Gyenes Tamás 1957 bronze XXI. Kalamár József street (today Szent István street)
János Asztalos Memorial Plaque
(Asztalos János emléktábla)
Nagy István János 1968 stone VIII. Nagyvárad square
Róbert Kreutz Memorial Plaque
(Kreutz Róbert emléktábla)
Kiss Nagy András 1977 bronze VIII. Asztalos János Ifjúsági Park (today Orczy Garden)
Béla Kun Memorial Plaque
(Kun Béla emléktábla)
Kalló Viktor 1989 bronze XXI. Tanácsház square (today Szent Imre square)
Endre Ságvári Bust
(Ságvári Endre mellszobor)
Baksa Soós György 1949 bronze V. Városház street 9-11.
Árpád Szakasits bust
(Szakasits Árpád szobra)
Marton László 1988 bronze XI. Szakasits Árpád street (today Etele street)
Béla Kun Memorial
(Kun Béla emlékmű)
Varga Imre 1986 bronze, chromium, copper I. Vérmező-park
Ferenc Münnich statue
(Münnich Ferenc szobra)
Kiss István 1986 bronze V. Néphadsereg square (today Honvéd square)
Ede Chlepkó Bust
(Chlepkó Ede mellszobor)
Szabó György 1980 bronze XIX. Chlepkó Ede square (today Ötvenhatosok tere, roughly translated square of the heroes of 1956)
Kálmán Turner Memorial Plaque
(Turner Kálmán emléktábla)
unknown 1959 marble IX. Soroksári street
Kató Hámán Memorial Plaque
(Hámán Kató emléktábla)
unknown 1959 marble IX. Mester street 59.

The Unending Promenade of Worker's Movement Concepts[edit]

Sculpture name
(Original name)
Author Year Construction material Original location
Workers' and Soldiers' Council Memorial Plaque
(A Munkás és Katonatanács emléktáblája)
unknown 1959 marble I. Szentháromság street 2.
The Display of the Worker's Militia Monument
(Munkásőr-demonstráció emléktábla)
Kiss Nagy András 1973 bronze VI. November 7 square (today Oktogon) 2.
Workers' Movement Memorial
(Munkásmozgalmi emlékmű)
Kiss István 1976 steel II. Hűvösvölgy
The Hungarian Fighters' in the Spanish International Brigades' Memorial
(A spanyolországi nemzetközi brigádok magyar harcosainak emlékműve)
Makrisz Agamemnon 1968 bronze and stone V. Néphadsereg square (today Honvéd square)
Republic of Councils Monument
(Tanácsköztársasági emlékmű)
Kiss István 1969 bronze XIV. Dózsa György street (Felvonulási tér)
The Republic of Councils Pioneers Memorial Plaque
(Béke őrei dombormű)
Ambrózi Sándor and Stöckert Károly 1953 stone II. Pasaréti street 191-193.
Hungarian Communist Party Memorial Plaque
(KMP ferencvárosi szervezet emléktábla)
unknown 1959 marble IX. Soroksári street
Hungarian Communist Party Printing House Memorial Plaque
(KMP Nyomda emléktábla)
unknown 1955 marble IX. Ráday street 53.
The Heroes of Peoples' Power Memorial
(A néphatalom hőseinek emlékhelye)
Kalló Viktor 1983 stone VIII. Köztársaság (Republic) square
Martyrs Monument
(Az ellenforradalom mártírjainak emlékműve)
Kalló Viktor 1960 stone VIII. Köztársaság square
The Buda Volunteers Regiment Memorial
(A Budai Önkéntes Ezred emlékműve)
Mészáros Mihály 1975 concrete II. Tárogató street
Ostapenko
(Osztapenkó)
Kerényi Jenő 1951 bronze XI. Budaörsi út - Balatoni út
Captain Steinmetz
(Steinmetz kapitány)
Mikus Sándor 1958 bronze XVIII. Vöröshadsereg street (today Üllői street)

Events[edit]

Memento Park, beyond its role as a tourist attraction, also functions as a cultural and educational site housing art projects, festivals, professional and public events. There are Retro Festivals, Film Festivals, and several cultural programs. To the youngest visitors, there is a museum-education program that sheds light on the exhibits and helps students to process what they learn. The park is a popular site for tourists. It is accessible by public transportation as well as a direct bus.

Visitor information[edit]

The park is open every day from 10:00am until sunset. Public bus transport to Memento Park is available from Kelenföld vasútállomás (railway/metro station) with buses no. 101 and 150 to Budatétény vasútállomás/Memento park.

Kelenföld railway station (Kelenföld pályaudvar) is at the end of Metro No. 4 and can be accessed from the following metro stations:

From the Pest side:

From the Buda side:

  • Gellért tér (Gellért Baths, trams No. 18, 19, 41)
  • Móricz Zsigmond körtér (tram No. 61 from Széll Kálmán tér)
  • Újbuda Központ

Tickets cost 1.500 HUF or 1.000 HUF students with ISIC. Discounts are available with the Budapest Card.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sights: Statue Park". Memento Park Budapest. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Sights: The Life of an Agent Film". Memento Park Budapest. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Conception: Response". Momento Park Budapest. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Conception: Commendation". Momento Park Budapest. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°25′34.80″N 18°59′56.15″E / 47.4263333°N 18.9989306°E / 47.4263333; 18.9989306