Wandering around Bratislava’s Old Town, you’re bound to bump into, or trip over, one of the city’s street statues.
I suppose everyone will have their favourite, but Cumil seems to be the most popular (see featured image above). ‘Cumil’ translates to ‘Watcher’, but what’s he watching? His head is sticking out of a manhole and some say that he’s looking up women’s skirts – who knows? He’s been run over a couple of times and so the authorities have put a ‘Man at work’ sign up. You can find Cumil at the junction of Laurinska and Panska.
Most of these statues, or sculptures, are made of bronze but there’s one that is silver (not solid silver), and his name is Schone Naci. The story goes that this poor old man, whose real name was Ignac Lamar, was besotted with a woman who didn’t give a fig about him (nothing new there then). He started to go a bit mad doing strange things like doffing his hat and greeting everybody – and for the ladies there was often a bunch of flowers as well.
People these days seem to have a habit of rubbing bronze sculptures for good luck, but whether it’s because he’s silver, or just plain unlucky I don’t know, but I didn’t see anybody rubbing poor old Schone Naci. You can see him greeting everyone on Sedlarska.
Most of these statues are supposed to be quirky, but whether the one I saw of Hans Christian Andersen on Hviezdoslav Square was meant to be I’m not sure, but I quite liked it all the same.
One of the most photographed has to be Napoleon’s Army Soldier who can be found leaning over a bench in the main square near the town hall. Napoleon and his army were in Bratislava in 1805, and one of his men, who went by the name of Hubert, fell in love with a local girl and stayed and became a wine producer. Hubert’s wine is a well-regarded sparkling wine in Slovakia today, and if it’s all true (which it could well be) then I think Hubert deserves a good rub don’t you? Not many can walk past without having their photo taken with him that’s for sure.
Another one you can’t miss is Paparazzi. With so many people photographing him, the irony of it wasn’t lost on me, because he appeared to be photographing everyone else. I’m not sure if it was meant like that because it stands, or should I say stood, outside a fabulous Italian restaurant of the same name. Unfortunately, the restaurant has left and taken their Paparazzi with them, which is a great shame on both counts.
On our arrival in Bratislava, we ate in this restaurant and we enjoyed it so much that we had our last meal in here as well. Apparently, the city authorities are trying to get the statue back because it was such a tourist attraction. The latest bit of information I have about him is that he’s now propping up the bar in the UFO Restaurant on the Novy Most.
There are more of these statues around, but I think I’ve covered the popular ones. Everyone will know that you’re a tourist if you’re spotted photographing these statues, but I bet you won’t be able to stop yourself – and who cares anyway?
POSTED – OCTOBER 2021