A few weeks ago passing by train near the zoo and amusement park area of Budapest I realized something is missing from the view. The Ferris wheel of the park is no more, turns out it was scrapped a half year ago. That was not "just" a Ferris wheel.

Wheel and Tatra
Wheel and Tatra
A view never to be reproduced again

The wheel was a notable landmark of Budapest, it was not particularly large, however along with some other taller rides of the amusement park, it contributed to the overall look of the area. The more interesting was the ride itself, sitting in the quite free-hanging and open gondolas, experiencing the wind while looking down the city as we slowly advanced the top.

A truly retro feel, like going back the past. Nowadays probably it would not even be possible to build this kind of Ferris wheel as new, I don't know about the safety standards regarding these, but with today's paranoia on this field I would definitely except the authorities having slight uneasiness in their stomach just for the sight of this thing.

Wheel in night
Wheel in night
A romantic ride under the stars?

Indeed, it really had some quite interesting connections, which alone should have warranted the preservation of this landmark.

The wheel was bought from the Soviet Union in 1974. It was produced in Jel'sk (Belarus, in 1974 belonging to the Soviet Union), by a firm with a profile of constructing such amusement rides. Along with other wheels, the most similar to the one in Budapest in structure was set up in Pripyat.

Pripyat today is an abandoned city, evacuated after the explosions in the nuclear reactor of Chernobyl in 1986. Along with most of the buildings, the rusted Ferris wheel still stands, as seen for example on this (2006) and this (2013) image.

I was unable to find any usable reference to the firm in Jel'sk, so I don't know whether any other similar Ferris wheels remained in operation today. I would be surprised if so.

It is a pity ours had to be dismantled while it was said it wasn't in a too bad condition. It wasn't scrapped by some decision of the amusement park, rather the amusement park itself was closed down, although preserving some of the historical rides. By this the wheel should also have gained protection, however there were other rides, even one from 1925 ("Kanyargó"), which was decided to be scrapped. The exact reasons behind drift into the fields of murky politics which I rather wouldn't go in.

So all in all, it was over in the February of 2014 when the wheel was torn down, tearing away a minor, sad, however interesting historical connection with that.

I need to add some corrections though for those who may visit my other related article now: the amusement park although was said to be closed down in 2012 (after which I did the article), it re-opened for the 2013 season, so the true last day of it was on the end of October in that year.


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