Statue Park

Statue Park

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When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Hungary suddenly found itself independent for the first time in 45 years.  During that time the occupying Soviets had tried valiantly (but ultimately unsuccessfully) to remake Hungarian culture.  One of their methods involved subordinating art to the needs of the state.  That meant that all art must teach a communist lesson.  As a result there were erected many monuments glorifying communist ideology.  Of course, all such statues must be bolshoi... big... like the ideas they represent.

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As the Soviets departed, the Hungarians wondered what to do with the monstrosities they left behind.  Some wanted to simply destroy them, but cooler heads prevailed and they were exiled to the outskirts of town in a desolate plot of land called The Statue Park.  (To see the Statue Park from overhead, navigate to <<47° 25' 34"N 19°E>> with something like Google Earth.)

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The Statue Park itself is full of symbolism.  The front entrance is a huge façade... just a façade, just like the Soviet system.  The main gate is welded shut; to enter, you must go around it... just like the Soviet system.  The communist ideal is that man should work 8 hours, sleep 8 hours, and have 8 hours of leisure so the Statue Park is laid out in three huge figure-8s.  In the very center of the park red flowers are planted in the form of a star and this is one of the few places you will see red stars of any sort; modern Hungarian culture considers the red star to be obnoxious, if not obscene.

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There are, moreover, no (zero) statues of Joseph Stalin.  It was common practice to deface or destroy representations of Stalin even while the Soviets were in putative control of Hungary.  After a while, they just gave up and stopped fixing or replacing damaged statues of Uncle Joe.  When the Statue Park was first put together there were no statues of Stalin to bring here (not that they would have anyway).

No, the Hungarians didn't have a very high regard for the Soviets...