Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Budapest sculpture and a dancing fountain

Shoes On The Danube Bank 
One of Budapest's most famous public sculptures is entitled Shoes On The Danube Bank. It was created by Can Togay, a film director, together with sculptor Gyula Pauer as a memorial to 3,500 people - 800 of them Jewish - shot into the Danube by Hungarian fascist group Arrow Cross in 1944 and 1945. The sculpture recreates 60 pairs of 1940s styled shoes in bronze and I found these very personal reminders of those who died to be an effectively poignant reminder. Arrow Cross were not Nazis and were highly critical of Hitler, but their white supremacist ideology led to similar bigoted actions and outrages. I was saddened to realise that, only seventy years later, humanity is already forgetting and allowing such groups to become influential again.

Anna Kethly statue 
While in Vienna, Dave and I had commented on the vast number of statues depicting triumphant warmongering men. It's much the same in London and other cities and we wondered whether Western society would have evolved differently if more peaceful men or even (shock, horror) women had historically been given similar prominence. On that note I was pleased to spot this statue of Hungarian Socialist politician Anna Kethly. It was unveiled two years ago and is tucked away in Olimpia Park. Kethly was an incredible woman and I was happy to discover more about her life.

On a lighter note, we saved the most fun thing in Budapest for our last day there. I like a good fountain anyway, but the musical fountain on Margaret Island is fab! It is pretty impressive anyway but on the hour every day (during the summer months at least) it dances to music. Its repertoire ranges from classical to folk music to pop and rock. I loved how tightly the water jets are choreographed to the musical rhythms. One of the songs was Mungo Jerry's cheesy classic In The Summertime for which not only does the fountain fire on the beat, but the water landed on the beat too! Each show lasts about fifteen minutes and it's free! There are dozens of YouTube videos ...

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