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Lenin Rubbing Shoulders with His Local Dictatorial Counterparts

If you regularly boast about your passion for iconic Communist era monuments and you haven’t been to Budapest’s Memento Park then I can safely say you are a fraud and a charlatan. The park houses tens of hundreds of statues from Hungary’s Communist period and I challenge any of our readers to find another location that brings together so many Communist era monuments.

Lenin-Park

You can find some of the more obvious Communist top trump, big hitters like Marx, Engels and Lenin rubbing shoulders with lesser known local Hungarian Communist leaders. Not only that but a few dedicated to the workers and to the odd Red Army soldier.

Worker-Park

Ask Yourself, Would It Have Been Better to Have Had Them Destroyed

The park was envisaged by the Budapest General Assembly in 1991 when they began a competition to find an architect to design the site to house all the Communist era monument scattered across the city. The winner, a local Hungarian architect named Ákos Eleőd, had this to say about the project when the park was opened on June 29, 1993.

This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship.

But, Where exactly is Marx? I Hear You Say

Well, the park is divided into two sections: Statue Park, which houses the lion’s share of the statues, and Witness Square, where you can find one of particular interest to our readers.

Marx-Engels-Entrance-Wide

The statue, which can be seen from the entrance, is a Cubist depiction of the founders of socialism, Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels. Standing at mighty 4 meters tall, they grumpily stare at unsuspecting passers by. But, this wasn’t the original location of the twosome, no, the original statue was inaugurated in 1971 in Jászai Mari square. Directly in front of the old Communist party headquarters.

Marx-Engels-Entrance

A Cubist Sculpture in Steel Was a Little Ahead of It’s Time

The sculptor was Segesdi György and the monument courted controversy before it as even built. He originally imagined the monument to be built from chrome steel. The plans however were changed at the last minute as it was felt that such Avante guard metal work was too radical for the times. A more noble material, gray granite was chosen.

For anyone wanting to visit the park more details can be found here, but like we said at the start anyone with any interest in this subject would be mad to not spend an hour or two here.

Photo credit:  Photo 1,4 and 5 by Ferran Cornella, Photo 2 and 3 by MikeMcHolm.