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Memento Park – Statue Park (Szoborpark) Remains of Communist Dictatorship Open daily from 10 a.m. until dusk. This is a place that will take you back to times when about half of Europe was ruled by communists. In most Eastern-European countries, Soviet-inspired monuments of the red dictatorship were demolished after 1990. In Budapest, however, forty of such “pieces of art” were collected in the city‟s Memento Park. The Park brings back the atmosphere of old times when Hungary was locked behind the iron curtain. Gigantic statues, spectacular displays, the so-called Stalin-grandstand and film-showings make a powerful and memorable exhibition. Memento Park, being one of the youngest museums of Budapest and one of the most exciting sights of Eastern-Europe, stands as a stunning memorial to the fall of communist dictatorship. Public transport connection to Memento Park Metro No.3 > “Ferenciek tere” > Bus No.7 or 173 red (express bus) > “Etele tér” (terminus) >>> Metro No.2 > “Batthyány tér” > Tram No.19 > “Etele tér” (terminus) >>> >>> Etele tér: Bus to Statue Park from “Volánbusz” Bus Station (behind construction area). Bus leaves every 20 minutes from gate No.7 toward Diósd. Get off at the “Szoborpark” (Statue Park – Memento Park) bus stop, after an approximately 15-minute ride. For “Volán” buses pre-purchased tickets are available at the “Volánbusz” station. Due to the construction of new Metro line no.4 and its above-ground stations, there will be changes in traffic in the centre of Budapest up to 2011. These changes will affect bus and tram schedules. Please take note of information boards at the stops. Direct transfer from downtown Budapest to Memento Park The bus leaves daily at 11 a.m. (In July and August also at 3 p.m.) December 3rd through 21st and January 7th through February 29th: Saturdays and Sundays only. The bus leaves from Deák Square (Deák tér -- Metro No. 1,2,3) from the bus stop distinguished by the Memento Park-timetable. Return tickets cost 3.950 HUF/person (with a Budapest Card 2.450 HUF/person). The price includes the ticket for Memento Park. Tickets are available on the bus or upon arrival at Memento Park desk. Guided Tour in English – Hammer and Sickle Tour The way it was, Comrade! Go back to the good old times when we drove Trabants, lived in block flats, stood in banana lines, had two passports, coupon books, no TV on Mondays and no freedom of speech! The cca. 3 hour-long tour includes: discussion of the communist era, a Statue Park guided tour with bus transfer, a visit to a unique exhibition of how life was back then (display of furniture, artifacts, readers, relics and more!) and spirit tasting of Hungarian brandies. Ticket prices: adults 6.500 HUF, students/Budapest Card holders 5.500 HUF (children 15 years or younger with paying adult 3.000 HUF). Meet at 10.30 a.m. in front of the church steps at Deák Square. Tour is available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. (January to March: Fridays and Saturdays only. No tours on December 25th, 26th and January 1st). TOP 10 Features of Memento Park 1. Grandstand A 1:1 replica of the tribune where leading communist comrades would stand waving at marching crowds that were forced to happily celebrate on state holidays. 2. Stalin‟s boots A crowd of people revolting against communist oppression pulled down the statue of Soviet party secretary, state leader and commander-in-chief Stalin on the 23rd of October, 1956. The General‟s boots, however, remained on the pedestal until the revolution was put down. The pair of boots displayed on the grandstand at Memento Park is an authentic replica of the original. 3. Main Entrance 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. 4. “One Sentence on Tyranny” This famous poem of the 1956 Hungarian Anti-Communist Revolution is displayed on a 4 meter-by-4 meter bronze board. Its 50 stanzas confront readers with the dictatorship in a single sentence format. (The poem‟s English, German, Italian and French translation is included in the Statue Park Guide that is available in the shop.) 5. Liberation Army Soldier 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. A hammer-and-sickle flag in its hand and a cartridge-disc machine pistol hanging in its neck make the statue complete. 6. Lenin Rumour has it that dissatisfied workers from the Csepel Iron Factory would secretly place a slice of bread-and-lard in the outstretched right hand of this monumental statue, originally ordered by Soviet party secretary, Nikita Khrushchev. 7. Statue of Marx and Engels This cubist statue depicting the two authors of the Communist Manifesto used to watch over comrades in front of Communist Party Headquarters in Budapest. 8. Gift Shop A sure find for unique paraphernalia relating to the communist era. Soviet souvenirs, wristwatches and other personal items, fun t-shirts and mugs, postcards, posters, Trabant model-cars, Lenin-candles, retro-souvenirs, music CD-s with communist movement marches, Red Army medals, books and other odd items are available. 9. Trabant The car Trabant, its body made of pressed plastic units, was a unique product of the Eastern part (GDR) of torn Germany. Visitors are welcome to get in and look around in this famous “people‟s car”. 10. Film-showings The Life of an Agent, a documentary explaining communist secret service operation, its methods for collecting information and its network of informants is continually shown in Memento Park. A DVD-version is available in the shop. “The Park contains the gigantic communist statues and busts that once filled Budapest‟s streets, but laid out in this open-air museum they take on a powerful ironic bent.” (Lonely Planet: Eastern Europe, 6th edition) “The Hungarian government, instead of destroying the remains of the so-called „Soviet Occupation‟, organized this unique exhibition of removed memorials, statues and plaquettes which is now called Statue Park, one of the most original and exciting open-air exhibitions in the world.” (Rick Steve‟s Guidebooks: The Best of Europe, Avalon Travel Publishing) “Just a short bus ride from Budapest, Szoborpark is more of a modern art arrangement in which mammoth communist statues are presented in a stark and powerful manner to really drive home the horror and brutality of the period.” (Gadling – the traveler‟s weblog) “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! (Ákos Eleőd, architect, conceptual designer of Memento Park) Open daily from 10 a.m. until dusk. http://www.mementopark.hu Budapest, 22nd district (Southern Buda), corner of Balatoni út and Szabadkai út Entrance fee: 1,500 HUF Entrance fee for students 1,000 HUF For Budapest Card holders entrance is free and a discount on the Direct Bus fee is offered.
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