Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Communist Budapest

Twenty years after the fall of communism the old regime is still visible in parts of Budapest. Some areas are immaculate and very western looking, but there is still a lot of construction and restoration work going on. There is also a lot of graffiti, which Tevye says was also very noticeable when he visited Gdansk in Poland three years ago. Maybe that is an eastern bloc thing? (Not that there isn't graffiti here, but not on anything like the same scale, and it is more likely to be cleaned up).

We passed the headquarters of the communist secret police in Andrassy Avenue, now the Museum of Terror. No time to go inside - and in any case I'm not sure I could have faced it.

Along the walls were memorials to those who died after the failed revolution of 1956:

Outside was this Iron Curtain monument:

The text written on the end (in English) was:
"... Shall we live as slaves or free men?" (Sandor Petofi)

It isolated the East from the West.

It split Europe and the world in two.

It took away our freedom.

It held us in captivity and fear.

It tormented and humiliated us.

And finally we tore it down.

We spent some time exploring Margrit Island, in the middle of the Danube. The island is mostly a park, with some restaurants and this very soviet looking "Strand" (swimming pool complex). Note the muscular statue to the left, presumably put there to inspire citizens to build up their physical strength!

I would have liked to visit the Budapest Statue Park where the Hungarians have preserved giant statues and other mementos of the communist era. Tevye wasn't so keen, and in any case we wouldn't have had the time. Maybe on a future visit?

Finally, some typical Budapest graffiti, on part of the Buda embankment of the Danube which is still undergoing restoration.


Like sunshine in the home said...

Fascinating place!

Theresa said...

My goodness I am loving all of these pictures! Must have been quite a trip!