I’d heard that the Statue Park (or Memento Park as it is called on the park’s brochure) outside of Budapest was worth a visit. It is a display of some of the statues that were removed from Budapest’s streets and parks after the fall of the communist dictatorship in 1989. In many other ex-communist countries, such statues were destroyed when the communist regimes fell, but in Hungary it was decided to put them on display to commemorate democracy by reminding people about dictatorship.
It was about 40 minutes away by bus on the western side of Budapest (the Buda side). At the front of the park there is an imposing statue of Lenin:
Inside there are about 40 politically themed statues, the most impressive of which is the bronze Tanácsköztársasági emlékmű (Republic of Councils Monument) which was produced by Kiss István in 1969. It was derived from a 1919 poster of a worker proclaiming: "To Arms! To Arms!"
I observed a British tourist taking some photographs of it, after which one of her companions, another British girl (I could tell from their accents) sat on the right boot of the statue to have her photograph taken. After about five seconds, just as her photographer friend was about to snap the shot, she suddenly jumped up and screamed: “Argghhh – I’ve burnt my ass!”
I don’t think she realised how much heat a bronze statue can absorb on a hot day.
After walking around the park for about 30 minutes and snapping a few shots, I walked over to a small building where they were showing a film about the life of secret agents in Hungary’s communist era. It was quite interesting – in fact I found it more interesting than the statue park itself.
There was also an interesting display of photographs and press clippings from the Hungarian revolution in 1956.
On the way back to Budapest, I spotted what looked like an old London double decker bus parked in a second hand car yard of Audis and other prestige vehicles. It looked quite out of place and I wondered how it got there. Maybe some travellers had bought it for a trip to Eastern Europe, but got tired of traveling in a bus and traded it in for an Audi.
(The smudge around the front of the bus is from the reflection of the window of the bus I was traveling in).