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(1941 - 2023)

Creator and founder of the Budapest International Circus Festival

Winner of the Silver Clown award at Monte-Carlo Circus Festival

Honorary artists of Hungary and bearer of several state awards

Holder of the Pushkin medal awarded by President Vladimir Putin



Istvan Kristof has been a highly decorated artist of the Hungarian Circus for 30 years, winning the silver clown award at the International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo in 1977.

In 1988 he became the director of the Capital Circus
building and had the privilege to guide the Hungarian Circus Arts over 24 years. During this time he also founded the International Circus Festival of Budapest, was the chairman of this event from 1996 to 2012.

Istvan has been awarded by President Vladimir Putin for his efforts of bonding the cultural relationships of Russia and Hungary trough the art of circus.
He has been a jury member on the most prestigious circus festivals of our industry and was welcomed as a honored guest at circus art competitions in China, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, France and Monaco.

With his life deeply intertwined with the circus, "My Life, the Circus" offers a captivating exploration into Istvan Kristof's incredible journey, providing readers with a unique and personal perspective on the world of circus arts.

Through the pages of his book, readers will gain insight into the passion, dedication, and artistry that define his remarkable career.


The circus is a special world. Space that is simultaniously open and enclosed, with special laws and inhabited by people with seemingly strange ways of looking at things. It has been welcoming everyone without prejudice for centuries, but it always imposes one condition: to love and respect the circus.

With the passage of time, many things change in the world and in our society, and the world of the circus is no exception. Questioned and sometimes exploited by politics, it is a community that has, more than anything else, taught itself how to survive from day to day. We are strange people, at the same time both citizens of the world and the world's vagrants, who are at home anywhere, but really nowhere at all.

There is one single sure point and place in our lives: the circus. It is a sanctuary for us that provides security, a livelihood and, last but not least, joy. There are values whose preservation might be essential for the future. It is a relic for those of us who want to build the future without forgetting the past.

On 11 September 2021, my father celebrated his 80th birthday. May God bless him with many more! To me, he is much more than simply a father. He is my best friend and indisputably my greatest teacher. I feel lucky to have been able to grow up in a circus where my destiny was, to all intents and purposes, decided in advance.

This book offers a glimpse into the wonderful and mysterious world of the circus through the lens of my father's 80-year-long journey in life. Furthermore, it also has a mission. It is important for my dad's professional values and everything that his spirit represents in circus art to be preserved.

I recommend this book to readers who love the circus and are curious about the challenges an acrobat faces in life, as well as how this exceptionally beautiful craft teaches you to struggle, create, live and love.