Gigantic Reminders of the Past
Visit the Memento Park (or Statue Park) and you’ll have a fairly good impression what life was like in Hungary during the communist regime.
Standing at prominent places throughout Budapest, the purpose of the symbolic statues was to constantly remind people of how great and powerful the Soviet system was.
After the fall of the communist system in 1989, all statues were moved to the outskirts of the city to establish a unique museum.
The Memento Park museum will shed some light on what was going on behind the Iron Curtain.
Buy a booklet on the spot (costs around 600 HUF) that will tell you the story behind each statue, and helps you understand what you’ll be seeing.
Basic Information on the Memento Park
Address: corner of Balatoni út and Szabadkai utca in district XXII.
Tel: +36 1 424 7500
Opening Hours: every day from 10.00 till sunset
- adults: 1 500 HUF, FREE for Budapest Card holders,
- Students: 1 000 HUF,
- Children under 14 years of age: 600 HUF,
- Family ticket: (2 adults + children): 2 000 HUF.
TIP: Buy your city card in advance online (it will be delivered to your hotel/apartment). The Card entitles you to discount admission to a wide range of sights and attractions and free travel on the public transport system.
You have two options to get to the park which is a bit out of the city centre.
If you’re a first-time visitor to Budapest your best bet is to take the direct bus service to Memento Park. You can get to the park by public transport, if you’re already familiar with travelling in Budapest.
If you aren’t, on this page you can learn more about how to get around by public transport.
Direct buses depart from Deák tér (where the 3 metro lines intersect) in the city centre every day at 11.00. Unfortunately the stop is not clearly visible from far, just skim through the schedules on the posts, and look for the Memento Park logo and timetable.
How Much Time to Devote to Visiting the Park?
The whole visit, including travelling there and back, is 2 and half hours. The trip to the park takes about 30 minutes, and you’ll have 1 hour and 30 minutes to look around in the park before the bus returns back.
Departures of the Direct Buses:
From Deák Square, distr. V., downtown, every day at 11.00 from , and in July-August at 11.00 and at 15.00 daily.
By Public Transport:
- Take bus No. 101E from Kelenföld vasútállomás M4 metro termini (green line), get off at Memento Park stop, the 2nd stop. The journey takes about 10-15 minutes. Departures of Bus No. 101E: Mon-Fri between 7.00-9.00: cc. every 10-15 minutes, it doesn’t run between 9.00 and 13.27. Then it runs again every 15 minutes till 20.00. See timetable here. It doesn’t run on Saturday-Sunday.
- By bus No. 150 from Újbuda Központ (termini of Tram 4 ) Sat-Sun in every 30 minutes (’26, ’56). The ride to Memento Park is about 30 min.
- Day passes, BKK-tickets (a single ticket is 350 HUF) and Budapest Cards are valid. Getting to Fehérvári út-Bocskai út bus stop by public transport: Tram No.4, 18, 41, 47, 61
By car: I recommend driving to the Memento Park only for those who know the city very well, and don’t mind traffic jams and roads full with potholes (especially in winter).
The park lies along road No. 7. From the city centre you have to get to Budaörsi road. Coming from the M0 motorway, you have to turn off at Diósd onto road No. 7, and drive 5 kms towards Budapest until you get to the Park.
A Bit of Memento Park History
The future of the statues created in the communist regime caused heated debates after the political changes of 1989/90. Many people reacted with hatred and wanted to destroy the symbols of dictatorship.
Instead of demolishing the stone and bronze reminders of the past 40 years, leaders of the new, democratic political system decided to remove and gather the statues to a place where everybody can view them.
László Szörényi, a literary historian mentioned first the idea of a Statue Park in an article in 1989. In December 1991 the Assembly of Budapest came to a decision that each districts should choose individually the statues to be removed.
The Cultural Committee of the Assembly invited a tender regarding the placement of statues and the design of the Statue Park. Ákos Eleőd architect’s (Architectural Studio Vadász and Partners) tender won.
The XXII. district offered a place on Tétényi plane for establishing the park. Although the museum has not yet been completed until now, it opened in autumn 1993.
A continuous brick wall is needed to create a uniform setting for the statues. Some other establishments to provide for the visitors have not been built either. Despite these deficiencies, thousands of foreigners and Hungarians visit the Budapest Statue Park every year.
You can meet some major communist top dogs in this open-air museum like Lenin, Marx and Engels and their Hungarian equivalents. The system rigorously censored everything.
In communism artworks could existed and displayed if they supported the ideology of the regime.
Gigantic statues of hard-working men and women, heroic soldiers stand here abandoned and evoking memories of fake glory.
There were two kinds of people in those grim years: leaders of the system possessing unquestionable authority, and the faceless mass of people. (Actually a third type existed too, the resistants who either expressed their antipathy against the dictatorship or just bore in silence.)
This is what these statues represent.
The park consists of five semicircles, with six statues standing along each. The semicircles encompass a larger circle.
The exhibited items range from giant statues of workers, heroes and party leaders to plaques commemorating certain communist events.
Standing next to these massive monuments one can feel really intimidated. I think that was one of their main purposes, towering above everybody at their original places. Now they’re only a bunch of mementos of a bleak past.
Top Attractions in the Memento Park
Today the replicas of the monuments stand on the eastern and western side of Tanú tér (Witness Square) in the Memento Park.
- Stalin’s tribune: A proportional replica of the original Stalin grandstand and the statue that was pulled down in 1956.
- Stalin’s boots -once part of the huge bronze Stalin statue that stood on today’s 56-osok tere and was removed during the 1956 revolution)
- Exhibition in the barracks: The myth of people’s longing for freedom in 1956, 1989-90.
- Theatre in the Barracks: The Life of an Agent (Directed by Gábor Zsigmond Papp) documentary film introduces methods to hide bugs, house-searches, recruitment and networking
How ironic that capitalism, against what the communists fought so fiercely, is thriving now in the small souvenir shop in front of the eyes of the stony remains of Soviet regime.
In the Red Star shop you can buy all kinds of communist kitsch. For example you can get the last breath of communism in a small can, or a candle in the shape of Lenin.
Other gifts you can take home:
- various badges,
- flasks with hammer and sickle symbols
- communist marching music on Cds
see also our Favourite Budapest Attractions.
Additional Resources: official website of the park