When Communism collapsed in Hungary in 1989, the city of Budapest was left with many public works of art that celebrated that era.
In 1993, four years after the fall, the city government decided to save the statues rather than destroy them and the idea for the Memento Park was born.
Twenty minutes outside Budapest’s city center, the open-air Memento Park displays more than 40 Communist-era statues in a neutral setting, neither making a mockery of them nor honoring them. The park was designed by Hungarian architect, Ákos Eleőd, who won the competition announced by the Budapest General Assembly in 1991.
Perhaps the most curious item in the park is a 1:1 replica of Stalin’s giant boots. A huge eight-meter statue of Stalin once stood in the “Felvonulási tér” in central Budapest serving as a rallying point and parade route for the communist regime. On the 23rd of October 1956, the Hungarians revolted against the communist regime and pulled down the huge statue leaving only Stalin’s giant boots behind. Though the revolution was brutally crushed by Communist forces, the replica of the boots serves as a reminder of those lost in the Hungarian uprising.
Approximately 40,000 people visit Memento Park yearly. The park is the property of the Hungarian State, but is operated as a private venture supported by receipts coming from ticket prices and the earnings of the souvenir shop.