On the outskirt of Budapest, a mere fifteen minutes from centre city by car or bus, you can find a museum that is unique, not just in Eastern Europe but in the World: The Statue Park Museum. All the statues of Budapest gathered together here that once stood in public places, as beacons for the political and ideological culture of the former socialist period.
The Statue Park was first conceived by the literary historian, László Szörényi, in an article published in the periodical Hitel (July 5th, 1989 issue to be precise), when he suggested that there should be a "Lenin garden" where all the various Lenin statues from all over Hungary could be gathered into one place.
The issue of what to do with all the statues dating from the previous political system was one of many that occupied public debate after the political changes of 1989/90. On December 5th, 1991, the Budapest Assembly came to a decision concerning the future fate of the statues in question - the choice of statues to be removed or kept would be decided by each district individually.
The Cultural Committee of the Assembly invited a tender for "what is to be done with the statues", which in effects was a tender for the design of the future Statue Park. Three proposals arrived. The winner was Ákos Eleőd architect (Architectural Studio Vadász and Partners).
The park was finally located on the space offered (on the Tétényi plane) by the XXII. district after many other proposals were rejected.
In the Autumn of 1993, the museum was finally opened, but it was not completely finished. What was missing was the continuous brick wall, which would have gathered all the statues into a unified setting. Also missing were features that would have aided the visitors.
In spite of these deficiencies, the park has been receiving visitors from the day of its opening.
The early days saw a boom of interest, which has now stabilised. Nowadays, visitors to the park are composed of Hungarian and foreign tourists in equal proportions.
Now that the great excitement and controversy over the opening of the Statue Park has died down, it looks set to take its place among the many museums and sites of Budapest.