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The secrets of the Liberty Statue in Budapest
Climbing Gellért Hill is worth the effort and time, not just because of the glorious view of Budapest, but also because of the beautiful Liberty Statue, gracing its top resembling a woman. But did you know that the Liberty Statue has been to space?
Funzine debunks some of the most exciting secrets of this artistic creation.
ORIGINAL IDEA: A MALE FIGURE?
Myth: Word claims that the Liberty Statue was supposed to be honouring István Horthy, the son of Miklós Horthy. István died from his wounds, suffered when his plane crashed in 1942. Although his statue was finished by 1944, it was never erected due to the German occupation and bombing of Budapest.
Truth: there were no talks about a Liberty Statue illustrating István Horthy. The idea of erecting a statue atop Gellért Hill came in 1945 to commemorate the Soviet soldiers fallen in WWII and was modelled after Erzsébet Thuránszky. The 54-metre-tall statue was finished in April 1947 and was supposed to be erected at the Horváth garden behind Buda Castle, but the Soviets were not keen on the location, as it would not have gotten much attention there.
SACRIFICES MADE FOR THE SAKE OF ART
The Liberty Statue was made by Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl, who actually had something to do with the Horthy family, as he was commissioned for three Horthy statues. Strobl arrived in Budapest from Sopron for this purpose, and he met the model by accident on the corners of Dózsa György Street and Thököly Street.
Since he asked her to be his model right on the spot, Erzsébet thought him to be a satyr. The young woman finally said yes when the artist revealed who he was. Erzsébet was not offered payment for modelling, and she did not even ask for any money. The woman worked as an x-ray assistant at a sanatorium in Sopron.
Some of the sacrifices that Erzsébet had to make included cutting her hair short and holding a palm branch above her head for hours, while cold air was blown at her with the help of a ventilator to create the natural, windy flow of the statue.
FROM LIBERATION STATUE TO LIBERTY STATUE
The statue was originally referred to as the Liberation Statue, but when the communist regime ended in Hungary, and the statue was renovated, the inscriptions and plaques written in Cyrillic letters resembling Soviet ideologies were removed. Thanks to the change in the political system and the removal of Soviet items, the name of the statue was changed from Liberation to Liberty.
A SPACE TRIP
Even though only a small version of the Liberty Statue was taken to space by the first Hungarian astronaut, Bertalan Farkas in 1980, Hungarians like to associate the miniature with the original,thereby claiming that the Liberty Statue has been to space. After all, it does sound nice that the Moon is a great admirer too of Budapest’s iconic statue, right?
source: Daily News Hungary
to climb – mászni, felmászni, megmászni
worth the effort and time- megéri a fáradozást és az időt
to resemble– hasonlítani
to debunk- leleplezni
to claim- állítani
to be supposed to be– valaminek szánva lenni
to honour- kitüntetni, megemlékezni
to suffer– szenvedni
to be erected– felállítva lenni (szobor)
due to– köszönhető valaminek
to commemorate– megemlékezni
to be keen on– rajongani valamiért
to be commissioned for– valamivel megbízva lenni
by accident– véletlenül
on the spot– a helyszínen
to reveal– felfedni
x-ray assistant– röntgen asszisztens
to include– beleérteni, belefoglalni
palm branch- pálma ág
to be blown at– fújva lenni valamire
to be referred to as– valahogyan hivatkozva lenni valamire
communist regime– kommunista rezsim
to be renovated– felújítva lenni
to be removed– eltávolítva lenni
even though– még akkor is, ha/ annak ellenére
to associate– összekötni
admirer– hódoló, csodáló