City guide

A new open-air exhibition transcends time in Budapest’s City Park

Photo : Liget Budapest Projekt
A new open-air exhibition transcends time in Budapest’s City Park

Carefree playing kids, lovebirds strolling on a summer afternoon, and sweet family picnics around a calm lake – these are all scenes found amongst the ten interesting new installations that recently popped up around City Park, outside of Vajdahunyad Castle and along the Kós Károly Promenade. The box-shaped art displays are all part of a free outdoor exhibition, where visitors can view animated GIFs made of archived personal pictures in each cube, which transport viewers back to the heyday of the park to present the lives of Hungarian families in the early 1900s.

Today, thousands of cars rush along Kós Károly Promenade every day, but it has not always been like this here in City Park (Városliget), which was once well-known for its esplanades, pleasant picnics around the lake, and sweetly strolling couples. Countless people cherish charming memories and stories of those summer days spent here, which is why a few photos from family albums were dusted off for the new LIGETEM Outdoor Exhibition and Gallery. Among the many splendid photos on display, visitors may spot a grandfather, still as a child, playing in the shade of the park’s huge trees, and parents as university students strolling around the lake hand-in-hand.
Photo: Norbert Hartyányi/We Love Budapest
Average turn-of-the-century citizens only took photos at special events, although photography became a more important part of the social gatherings of the ’20s and ’30s. Young men relaxing at Szecska, kids sipping on fizzy drinks in the ’50s, and lovebirds riding the roller coaster at the old Funfair all come alive in the pictures and short films of the alfresco exhibit, aiming to revive the memories of Hungarian families, according to the the exhibition’s accompanying information.
Photo: Norbert Hartyányi/We Love Budapest
This touch of personality, and never-before-seen professional pictures, give a special charm to the exhibited pieces that awake nostalgic feelings, but about much more than just the belle-époque era, or the retro May 1st days of the ’60s and ’70s.
Photo: Norbert Hartyányi/We Love Budapest
The pictures present an era when the residents of the city actually ‘used’ the City Park. If you walk through the park today in the daytime, you see that one side (near the Budapest Zoo, Robinson Restaurant, and Vajdahunyad Castle) is lively, but the other side is almost abandoned, excluding a few dog walkers.
Photo: Norbert Hartyányi/We Love Budapest
The exhibition will remain on view until the end of May, and serves as a nice reminder of what a pleasant place City Park can be.