Mega Soviet statues!!

The shadow of the Soviet Era falls long over Budapest and nowhere shows the actual physical dominance of the USSR better than Memento Park.

10502528_10152153984677353_4580564311526156472_n

This unusual tourist attraction sits several miles out of the city and hosts some of the regime’s epic statues that used to literally loom large over the citizens. Below is a larger than life Lenin (with a rather undeserved shaft of sunlight!)

1487345_10152153984187353_8675431277534045107_n10478180_10152153984347353_1308807364212830610_n1559744_10152153984132353_5219747881372518914_n

These omnipresent works of art served as daily reminders of the “liberation” of the city from the Nazis, but also, an ever present sign of a new oppression.

10435843_10152153984587353_7223260753531055830_n 10438533_10152153985427353_7648395181199084165_n10411852_10152153984397353_3093234482959308473_n

10519511_10152153984837353_4286321399392459691_n

Here we size ourselves up against one of the monstrous statues, striking a typically energetic pose.

10530744_10152153984797353_6381887224447779395_n

The seeds of the downfall of the Soviet regime started with The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. This was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the Hungarian People’s Republic and and its Soviet-imposed policies.

It was the first major threat to Soviet control since the USSR’s forces drove out the Nazis at the end of World War II and occupied Eastern Europe.

During the revolt demonstrators decided to carry out one of their demands – the removal of Stalin’s 30-foot-high bronze statue that was built in 1951 on the site of a church, demolished to make room for the monstrosity.

10441342_10152153985487353_1100098664734837013_n

The statue was toppled and jubilant crowds celebrated by placing Hungarian flags in Stalin’s gigantic boots, which were all that was left of the monumental statue. The remains can be seen at Memento Park (see photo above).

Despite the failure of the uprising, it was highly influential, and came to play a role in the downfall of the Soviet Union decades later.

The park also features other curios such as the Communist hotline – fancy a chat with Lenin, Stalin or any of the other commie headliners?

There’s a chance to check out one of the Eastern Bloc’s hottest exports – the Trabant, plus awful, yet slightly comedic, black and white film reels of the secret police’s training in Communist Hungary.

Here’s the trusty Trabant. This odd little car was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the eastern bloc.

Despite its poor performance, inefficient two-stroke engine and production shortages, the Trabant is still regarded with tongue in cheek affection.

10525727_10152153984227353_3543748871060682067_n 10522474_10152153984267353_205771182388896446_n

More rousing statuary portray the might of the red army, the heroic workers and the ‘liberation’ by the Soviet regime.

10488020_10152153985377353_2808866506207765003_n

Architect Ákos Eleőd, designer of Memento Park says of the place: “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!”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s