Hungary: Memento Park-
Cold Memories of Communism

What?
An open air museum housing the relics of Budapest’s communist era statues and artwork.

Why Visit?
If you love outrageously oversized statues idealistically produced behind the Iron Curtain, then look no further than Memento Park. A veritable display of humongous, socialist heroes carved from stone are exhibited in the open, from Lenin to Marx. 

You’ll even find Stalin’s boots at the entrance. But more than just statues and artwork, this is a vivid look into Hungary’s Soviet past.

Where?
On the outskirts of Budapest, 30 minutes bus ride from the centre. Map.


AFTER A LONG, dreary ride through the suburbs of Budapest the bus drops you off on the outskirts of the city, hurtling off into the fog to leave you alone in the cold.

Power cables and concrete buildings cut through the fog around you as the harsh wind numbs your face.

You are miles from the historic centre of one of central Europe’s most admired cities, in search of ‘Memento Park’, a bizarre monument to Hungary’s communist past.

You set off down the road, and through the grey winter weather Stalin’s boots appear through the fog by the park’s entrance, planted on top of an oversized concrete podium.
These boots are made for walking....all over Eastern Europe. 
This is a recreation of a moment from the country’s 1956 uprising when a statue of Stalin was toppled in the name of good old freedom and democracy. Then the Red Army rolled in with tanks to show the world the joys of socialism.
Greeting you at Memento Park’s extravagant entrance are some of communism’s happy figures. That’s the revolution’s cheerful Lenin on the left and everyone’s favourite political theorist, Marx himself, on the right.
Building oversized statues is what communism seemed to do best. 
After its fall in 1989, the good people of Budapest decided to tear down the humungous statues the socialist rulers had built as monuments to the glory of Marxism and the workers.

Many of them ended up here a few years later. The park’s website says the idea is ‘Not irony, but remembrance’, but stepping into Memento Park, the place feels somewhat like a socialist Disneyland, where ridiculousness trumps remembrance.

In the cold depths of winter, the communist theme park is eerily deserted though...on a day like this, it's just you and the dictators. 
Lenin stands proud in his new home.
The last, desperate cries of communism?
Communist Hungary was known as the Eastern Bloc’s ‘Happiest Barrack' and this statue representing the friendship between the Soviets and the Hungarian people sincerely manages to capture that atmosphere.
It was dwarfed by the statue of this rather large sub machine gun wielding Red Army soldier.
The park’s most interactive attraction however is an  old Trabant, the people’s car. You can climb inside, being careful to avoid the jagged rusty parts of course, and experience the harsh reminder that life in the brutal world of socialism meant small cars, and inadequate leg room.
Communism was OK with stretching the truth- but not your legs. 
And if that's not enough socialist excitement for one day, you can then listen to the communist leader’s phone hotline, hear some of Stalin’s finest speeches and Gorbachev’s best recordings and then buy your own communist propaganda to take home as your own memento from the park.

Despite the Park’s claims, it is hard not to feel a sense of irony when visiting Memento Park.

History has certainly been preserved in a truly unique way, and for anyone with an interest in the communist past of Central and Eastern Europe (or anyone with an interest in giant statues) it is almost certainly worth a visit. But in many ways it also feels as though history has been almost abandoned, hidden away on the outskirts of suburban Budapest, surrounded by drab concrete and generic red bricks.

Getting There
There’s a direct bus everyday at 11am from Deak Square, in central Budapest, or if you miss this, you can take Bus No.150 from Ujbuda Kozpont, after taking Tram No.47 from the centre. `

Useful Links
http://www.mementopark.hu/

About the author:
A travel mad Englishman, Richard Collett has the unruly tendency of finding himself in bizarre and occasionally dangerous situations far from home. He loves travelling to the ends of the earth to write about something new for you. 
He is the recent founder of www.Travel-Tramp.com where he wholeheartedly attempts to combine two of his life’s great passions, travel and writing. His third great passion is Gin.


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