Budapest’s Memento Park is a unique attraction in that it houses the statues that were removed from the city and other parts of Hungary after the fall of Communism in 1989. There are a number of familiar faces, such as Lenin, as well as broad-shouldered soldiers and healthy-looking workers. Visitors also get the chance to see some rarer relics of the past, including a pair of boots that were once the foundations for a statue of Stalin.
The statue itself was pulled down in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution and the remaining boots are therefore far more representative of the fallen dictatorship than a complete monument would have been. The footwear is among the first things to greet you before going into the park proper through an entrance flanked by Lenin, Marx and Engels.
Memento Park is a spacious area that has been well laid out, with each of the rescued statues occupying its own plinth. While a couple of the exhibits near the beginning have descriptions explaining that they are on loan from Eger, the rest of them lack the information that would tell you where they had been removed from. In fact, only a fraction of the statues bare names, meaning you are left with a general sense of the Communist aesthetic that would have dominated public places for decades, but not the specifics.
Since Memento Park lies outside of the city centre, a special trip must be made to visit this unusual attraction. There is a daily bus that departs Deak Square at 11am, but we arrived at the park before its arrival, meaning we beat the crowds and could view the statues with almost nobody else around. It’s worth making your own way there by public transport so you can do the same.
Where you are staying in Budapest will have an impact on your journey, but the city’s public transport network is well integrated, meaning you can easily get to wherever you need to be from each neighbourhood. Bus 101E leaves for Memento Park from just outside the Kelenfold Metro station on the green line. If you come out of the station via Exit B you will find the bus stop right in front of you.
You can ride the Metro to get to Kelenfold, but as we were staying up on Castle Hill, it was more convenient for us to get the mainline train, as Kelenfold is also served by a large station. Buses depart regularly to Memento Park, which is the second stop and friendly locals told us when to get off. To return to central Budapest, simply retrace your steps.