The Hungarians, like the Turks, are the descendants of the nomadic tribes
that migrated out of the great wastelands of central Asia. However,
unlike the Turks, the Hungarians adopted Christianity as they shed their
nomadic past. The statues that circle the major square in the cities
greatest park illustrate how the next chapter of Hungarian history diverged
from the later central Asian warriors. After settling
down by the Danube River, the pagans of Central Asia quickly tried to shed
their past and adopted the religion of the West. Centuries later Hungary
did not define the fight with the Turks as one transplanted central Asian
horde versus another but defined their struggle as the rest of the Central
European Nations did, as one between Christianity and
Above: Deep in the battle a Christian soldier wields the cross as a
weapon more powerful than any sword.
Budapest has shelved the cities 20th century’s bad memories in Statue Park,
far outside of town. In Statue Park, the cities surviving communist
era statues lay forgotten underneath massive power lines. Statues Park’s
desolation gives you the feeling that not only do Hungarians not come here
but that they would just as soon pretend it doesn’t exist.
You quickly got the feeling that the place is just for tourists. In the gift
shop in the park they sell hip cynical T-shirts combining Communist and Capitalist
symbols. One shirt advertises McCommunism. The public bus stopped
here almost as an afterthought and all the books in the gift shop were in
Most of the Hungarians I spoke with just wanted to forget those years.
If they talk about them at all they just get angry at the wasted years, or
they meekly point out that those years weren’t as bad as people make out.
I had gone to Eastern ”Central Europe” the local will remind you) Europe
expecting to constantly see Images of the Communist era, but except for the
massive Soviet era public housing projects that seemed to ring every city,
I had to really look for the legacies or references to those years.
Most Central Europeans had woken up from that nightmare 10 years ago and
like all dreams the memories and details of it were fading fast. Instead
the fight against the Turks was the struggle with “the east” that seemed
to define the area.
Right: Two statues from the park, a forgotten Lenin calls to no
one and an abandoned memorial to the worker.
Left: One of the few Communist era statues left standing in the city
proper is one of a young nondescript peasant boy. Near this statue
many Hungarians were killed in their attempted rebellion against the Soviets
in 1958. A red ribbon attached to the boys arm quietly remembers.
Below: Overlooking the city, Budapest Castle uses architecture
to declare that it is a part of Europe’s common history. The lone horseman,
outside of the Castle’s back wall is one of the city’s favorite sons who
became famous for fighting the Turkish Invasion. A Lion roars into
one of the Palace’s courtyards.
Back to East
versus West Home Page
About Me: I am a History teacher who wants to transform my hobby of
Travel Photography into paying for my summer vacations. If you would
like to use any of my images in your magazine or web site please contact
me at email@example.com.
I also have many more images not found in this site from Mexico, Peru, Bolivia,
Jordan, Syria, Hungary, Spain, Turkey, Czech Republic, Bosnia, and Romania.