This tour is quite expensive, but a really good way of seeing Memento Park. The park is quite a distance from Budapest. It is accessible by public transport, but with limited time it is more sensible to go on this private tour.
The park is not a dumping ground for these statues, but was a conceptual creation of the architect, Akos Eleod, from 1993. It was a brave and unique act of the Hungarian authorities to create such a museum.
Not all the statues are Socialist Realist in style. There is a cubist Marx and Engels. Probably the most striking statue is a relatively modern one from 1986 by Imre Varga, the Bela Kun Memorial.
This illustrates the ambiguity for the viewer in seeing these statues.It is extremely striking, but celebrates a man who was responsible for at least 60,000 deaths during the Soviet Terror. He himself was 'eliminated' in 1937. It will probably be a long time before these statues can be judged for their artistic merits. Too much individual suffering accrues to them in their role as purveyers of ideological substance.
The statues were subverted during these times by being given alternative names. The one illustrated here is the Monument to the Hungarian Socialist Republic. It was nicknamed 'The Cloakroom Attendant', who was trying to return a scarf to a customer. The Bela Kun Memorial was also open to other more subversive interpretations.
The English guide is cheap and well illustrated.
Laszlo was my guide from Absolute Walking Tours. His English was excellent. His tour was sesitive and knowledgeable. As the tour is a private tour it is tailor made to your requirements. Laszio was very flexible. We finished movingly listening to the Hungarian National Anthem surrounded by the monuments.
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