Pan-European Picnic Sopron

We are running to the north about 10 km from Sopron city centre, to the border between Hungary and Austria.

Scenery from Sopron City to the border.

Scenery from Sopron City to the border.

The map to Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park from Sopron

The map to Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park from Sopron

The Pan-European Picnic was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungarian border near Sopron on 19 August 1989, the day before the Hungarian holiday commemorating Stephen I of Hungary.

We arrived at a park called Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park Sopron. 

We arrived at a park called Pan-European Picnic Memorial Sopron.

This park, along the former Iron Curtain, is a memorial of the breakthrough of East Germans to the freedom of the West on August 19, 1989.

The former fence which impound human beings in a cage.

The former fence which impound human beings in a cage.

Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park, Austrian border and Memorial gate

Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park, Austrian border and Memorial gate

In a symbolic gesture agreed to by both countries, a border gate on the road from Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland (Austria) to Sopronkőhida (Hungary) was to be opened for three hours. On 27 June Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock and his Hungarian counterpart, Gyula Horn, cut the border fence about 6 km from this spot.

Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park Walking Plan

Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park Walking Plan

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Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park

Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park, Belfry and Memorial column.

We are walking through the park. There are some explanation boards.

Explanation boards “European Celebration of the Pan-European Picnic” and “The Breakthrough was a Historical Moment” Sopron 2009.

Explanation boards “European Celebration of the Pan-European Picnic” and “The Breakthrough was a Historical Moment” Sopron 2009.

Explanation board; The people who escape from the insane country. Good for them!

Explanation board; The people who escape from the insane country. Good for them!

More than 600 East Germans fled to the West. In the run-up to the picnic, its organisers distributed pamphlets advertising the event and Hungarian border guards were ordered by the Ministry of the Interior not to intervene or carry arms; the border guards helped people to flee.

 Watch tower

Watch tower

The Monument to European Freedom

The Monument to European Freedom

Inside of the monument.

Inside of the monument.

Fountain of honor

Fountain of honor

Memorial woods and playground of the Park

Memorial woods and playground of the Park

The Pan-European Picnic is considered a significant milestone on the road to German reunification, and commemorative ceremonies are held annually on 19 August at the border. In 2009 Angela Merkel (who grew up in East Germany) attended festivities commemorating the picnic’s 20th anniversary, thanking the Hungarians for their courage and foresight: “Two enslaved nations together broke down the walls of enslavement… and Hungarians gave wings to East Germans’ desire for freedom.”

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