After the fall of the Communist regime in Hungary in 1989, many of the Communist era statues and monuments were immediately removed. These formed the basis for the current collection of statues in the park.
On June 29, 1993, the second anniversary of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Hungarian territory, the park celebrated a grand opening as a public outdoor museum.
2006 marked a new chapter in the history of Memento Park. A life-sized copy of the tribune of the Stalin Monument in Budapest was built in the Statue Park with the broken bronze shoes on top of the pedestal. This is not an accurate copy of the original but only an artistic recreation by Ákos Eleőd.
In 2007 a new exhibition hall and a small movie theater were opened in the Witness Square of Memento Park. The photo exhibition called “Stalin’s Boots” in the exhibition hall takes the viewer through the history of the 1956 revolution, of the political changes of 1989-1990 and of Memento Park, with both English and Hungarian captions. In the barracks-theater one can see The Life of an Agent, a documentary on the methods used by the secret police, directed by Gábor Zsigmond Papp. The film is shown in the Hungarian language with English subtitles.
Memento Park is an open-air museum in Budapest, Hungary, dedicated to monumental statues and sculpted plaques from Hungary's Communist period (1949–1989). There are statues of Lenin, Marx, and Engels, as well as several Hungarian Communist leaders. The park was designed by Hungarian architect Ákos Eleőd, who won the competition announced by the Budapest General Assembly (Fővárosi Közgyűlés) in 1991. On public transport diagrams and other documents the park is usually shown as Memorial Park.
A quote by the architect on the project: "This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship."
Memento Park is divided into two sections: Statue Park, officially named “A Sentence About Tyranny” Park after a poem of the same name by Gyula Ilyés, and laid out as 6 oval sections; and Witness Square (also called "Neverwas Square"), which lies east of the main park entrance and is visible without payment. Statue Park houses 42 of the statues/monuments that were removed from Budapest after the fall of communism. Witness Square holds a replica of Stalin's Boots which became a symbol of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 after the statue of Stalin was pulled down from its pedestal in 1956, and is flanked by two single story timber structures housing the internal exhibition space, their design being evocative of simple internment camp buildings.
Memento Park, beyond its role as a tourist attraction, also functions as a cultural and educational site housing art projects, festivals, professional and public events. There are Retro Festivals, Film Festivals, and several cultural programs. To the youngest visitors, there is a museum-education program that sheds light on the exhibits and helps students to process what they learn. The park is a popular site for tourists. It is accessible by public transportation as well as a direct bus from Deák Ferenc tér.
The park is open every day from 10:00am until sunset. Public bus transport to Memento Park is available from Kelenföld vasútállomás (railway/metro station) with buses no. 101 and 150 to Budatétény vasútállomás/Memento park.
- Kelenföld railway station (Kelenföld pályaudvar) is at the end of Metro No. 4 and can be accessed from the following metro stations:
- Keleti pályaudvar (Keleti Railway Station, Metro No. 4)
- Rákóczi tér (the Grand Boulevard, trams No. 4 and 6)
- Kálvin tér (Hungarian National Museum, trams No. 47 and 49, Metro No. 4)
- Fővám tér (the Great Market Hall, tram No. 2)
- Gellért tér (Gellért Baths, trams No. 18, 19, 41)
- Móricz Zsigmond körtér (tram No. 61 from Széll Kálmán tér)
- Újbuda Központ
- Tickets cost 1.500 HUF or 1.000 HUF students with ISIC (2015). Discounts are available with the local Budapest Card (2015).
- Soviet-Hungarian war\friendship memorials.
- Hungarian Communist officials like Tibor Szamuely (December 27, 1890 – August 2, 1919).
- Controversial statues of world leaders and iconic individuals!
- Stalin Monument (Budapest)
- 1956 Hungarian Revolution
- Stalin's cult of personality
- Cult of personality
- Cultural representations of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956
- Socialist realism