Gazing on communism: heritage tourism and post-communist identities in Germany, Hungary and Romania

Authors: Light, D.

Journal: Tourism Geographies: an international journal of tourism place, space and the environment

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

Pages: 157-176

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

ISSN: 1470-1340

DOI: 10.1080/14616680050027879


This paper considers ‘communist heritage’ tourism (that is, the consumption of sites and sights associated with the former communist regimes) in contemporary Central and Eastern Europe. As one form of special interest tourism, this phenomenon is an illustration of the ever-diversifying tourist gaze. However, such tourism also raises wider issues concerning the relationship between tourism and the politics of identity in the region. While the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe are seeking to construct new, post-communist identities (a process in which tourism can play a signiŽcant part), this project is frustrated by tourists’ interest in the ‘heritage’ of communism. Through consideration of three case studies of communist heritage tourism (the Berlin Wall, Budapest’s Statuepark, and Bucharest’s ‘House of the People’) the paper examines the strategies which different countries (Germany, Hungary and Romania) have adopted to negotiate and accommodate such tourism without compromising post-communist identities.

Source: Manual