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Travelling back to time with the biggest statues of the cold war

Have you ever stood by the Statue of Liberty at the Citadella? The 14 m tall bronze woman holding a palm frond, the Statue of Liberty is a monument on Gellert Hill, Budapest. Does it seem a socialist answer to the huge and magnificent New York one? Urban legend says that the statue was originally designed for the ultraright government, and then got turned into a tribute to the Soviet soldiers for liberating Budapest in 1945.

Memento Park offers an exciting travelling back in time, forgotten statues of the communist dictatorship from behind the Iron Curtain. Gigantism, waving comrades, Stalin’s boots, and the Red Army soldiers. Exhibition of the 1956 revolution and 1989-90 political changes. The barrack-documentary explains the political secret service. How to recruit an agent? Insert a bug? What are the secret surveillance methods? In the vintage gift shop contemporary items, posters and other interesting gifts can be found. In the shadow of public statues from the communist dictatorship you can experience what it was like to sit in a Trabant car, you can also „phone” Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Che Guevara and many more former party leaders.

At memento park by taking the informative guided tour you will have the opportunity to get all the answers to your questions related to the subject: How could Stalin leave his boots behind in Budapest, although he had never even been to the city? Is Lenin holding a hat in his hand and has one on his head as well? What did Nikita Khrushchev say when he once visited the Csepel Factory? Why Hungary was named the „happiest barrack”? How many people could actually fit in the Trabant car? On Stalins’ pedastal you can try out the „waving balcony” and feel what it was like to be a communist party leader in those old days on big communist holidays and festivals.

Within Memento Park, Statue Park itself is one of the most unique tourist destinations in Budapest, and also it has great photo opportunities for the visitors. It is an exciting and special place to visit when you are in Budapest.

Displayed in the Park are 42 pieces of art from the Communist era between 1945 and 1989, including allegorical monuments of “Hungarian-Soviet Friendship” and “Liberation”, as well as statues of famous personalities from the labour movement, soldiers of the Red Army and other gigantic pieces: Lenin, Marx, Engels, Dimitrov, Captain Ostapenko, Béla Kun and other “heroes” of the communist world. A favourite with visitors is the Liberation Army Soldier. A hammer-and-sickle flag in its hand and a cartridge-disc machine pistol hanging in its neck make the statue complete. This 6-meter tall statue of the evil-eyed Soviet soldier once stood on the top of Gellért Hill in central Budapest, well-seen from every direction. When facing it, the main entrance bears the image of a monumental classicist building. Looking behind it, though, it resembles a 12-meter high, under-propped communistic scenery ? a perfect introduction into the nature of dictatorship. The words of architect Ákos Eleőd, the conceptual designer of Memento Park serve as its motto: “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. Or about democracy, come to that! Or about anything!”

The park is open everyday from 10.am until sunset.

Memento Park

1223 Bp. Balatoni út - Szabadkai utca sarok

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Get there by local transport: take metro No 4 (M4 – the green line) until  “Kelenföld vasútállomás”– from there with bus No 101E and 150 towards Budatétény vasútállomás (Campona). The ride to Memento Park is roughly 10-20 minutes, depending on the traffic. Day passes, BKK-tickets (prepaid: 350 HUF, on the bus 450 HUF) and Budapest Cards are valid.

Photo and text: Memento Park

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