A piece of history is right here to see, and it’s not a long way to go either. Right between Fertőrákos, 10 km from Sopron, and the neighbouring Austrian Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland, is the Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park. The site commemorates the events of 19 August 1989. This was the day when East German citizens broke through the Hungarian-Austrian border to get to the western world, to West Germany. This day became a significant prelude to the permanent lifting of the Iron Curtain that cut Europe in two. The borderline at Fertőrákos has been considered the symbol of the common European ideal ever since, and is seen as a European Heritage site.
What can you see here?
At the centre of the memorial park stands the monumental statue composition of Miklós Melocco, named Áttörés (Breakthrough), and the Pan-European Picnic Visitor Centre, where an exhibition takes you back to the past. A piece of the Iron Curtain, a border patrol watch tower and the bell of freedom are also displayed. You can take a walk in the Academic Memorial Forest, planted in 2000 by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, with one new sapling planted each year since. If you also want to attend the planting ceremony, plan to arrive on 3 November, the day of Hungarian science.