Bratislava is filled with interesting and imaginative statues, which present great photo opportunities and an insight into the Slovak sense of humour. The eastern European tradition of public sculpture is particularly obvious along the Danube embankment, but the humorous statues elsewhere in the Old Town are what really mark Bratislava out.
Napoleonic army soldier
The Napeolonic Soldier stands on Hlavné námestie to recall the siege of 1809 © dimbar76, Shutterstock
Leaning on a bench on Hlavné námestie, posing for photos behind those who sit down for a rest; watch out for photobombing!
This statue is a firm favourite for locals and tourists alike © PHB.cz (Richard Semik), Shutterstock
On the corner of Panská and Rybárska brána is a man peering out of a manhole cover ‘looking up skirts’, created by Viktor Hulík. It’s been here since 1997 and is the favourite photo op in town.
The jolly Schöne Náci statue depicts a real person who had a heartbreaking past © DUOMEDIA
The statue (by Juraj Meliš) depicts a real person who was famous locally as a dandy. Ignác Lamár (1897–1967) was nicknamed Schöne Náci, meaning ‘Handsome Ignatius’; he appears quite friendly and jolly on the statue, but his fiancée was deported to a Nazi concentration camp in World War II, where she died. He never recovered psychologically from the trauma and spent his days wandering along the Korzo in a top hat and tails, smiling at everyone.
Although the sculpture has been somewhat defaced by graffiti, it is still worth a visit © Fred Romero, Wikimedia Commons
At the centre of Freedom Square, laid out in 1980, is a fountain with this metal sculpture of a linden flower (lipovy kvet) at its centre, a symbol of friendship between the Slav peoples.
This gargoyle can give first-time visitors a fright © Palickap, Wikimedia Commons
A grotesque gargoyle from a late Gothic façade. Horrible dwarf squatting and flashing at the street. Various theories about his significance – some say he is looking towards Vydrica, the former red-light district, and that’s why he is aroused; others insist he represents a very nosy resident of the building who likes to spy on passers-by from a tiny bay window.
Before they were turned to stone, it is clear to see that the little boys were happily frolicking in the water © Lure, Wikimedia Commons
Three naked little boys teasing ducks, built in 1914 by the sculptor Robert Kúhmayer (who also created the ‘Crutch-Breaker’ statue at Piešťany Spa). According to legend, the three boys were playing with ducks when the water sprite Zeleniak appeared and ordered them never to peek under the water at his kingdom. They disobeyed and were turned to stone.
Hans Christian Andersen
The literary great, Hans Christian Andersen, is honoured in Hviezdoslavovo námestie, one of the city's main squares © Mikhail Markovskiy, Shutterstock
The Danish fairytale teller visited Bratislava in 1841 and the statue depicts a tall, skinny poet looking a bit bashful, with a huge snail gazing up at him in awe of his imagination. The emperor with no clothes and other characters from his stories are depicted on the rear. Created by Tibor Bártfay, whose father designed the soldier on the top of the Slavín Monument.
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