Budapest is the city of statues! Hungarians love to celebrate their heroes or even fictional characters. It could be a monument to the victims of fascism, or to some of the greatest national artists, without forgetting the small statues created by Mihaly Kolodko that are hidden all over the city. Without further ado let’s dive in the guide to find the most unusual statues in Budapest!
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In This Article
- Monuments and memorials in Budapest
- Unique and Unusual statues in Budapest
- It’s a wrap of the must see statues in Budapest
Monuments and memorials in Budapest
Shoes on the Danube Bank
The shoes on the Danube bank are one of the most evocative memorials about the Holocaust ever built. A few meters away from the Parliament about 70 pairs of shoes stands lined on the Danube bank, remembering the thousands of Jews who were executed on the water side of the Danube.
The fascist militia obliged the prisoners to take off the only belongings they had which had value before shooting them. The shoes are often filled with flowers or candles by the locals who come to pay their tribute.
Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the most enchanting locations in Budapest. Its romantic terraces and towers, but also its statues. And among those how not to mention the beautiful equestrian statue of Stephen I of Hungary?
The first king of Hungary is also one of the most honored Saints in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The statue inside Fisherman Bastion celebrates both the hero and the saint and is a very important monument.
One of the most fascinating statues in Budapest is nearby the amazing Vajdahunyad Castle, which is also one of the most photogenic locations in the capital. There can be several interpretations of the faceless men that seats on a squared stone throne, but the statue is nothing less than a tribute to the mysterious figure of the chronicler of king Bela III.
Author of the Gesta Hungarorum, thanks to him we have a precious testimony of the early history of the Hungarian kingdom. According to superstition touching the point of its pen brings luck to writers.
Situated nearby Margaret Island, the statue to Imre Nagy is one of the most important in the city as a tribute to the ancient prime minister and national hero. The statue shows the politician standing halfway on a bridge, symbolizing his fight to free Hungary from the Stalinist regime.
Imre Nagy was prime minister under the communist regime from 1953 to 1955. Very popular among the intellectuals and people, he was the leader of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, before being arrested and executed by the soviet government.
Did you know? Recently the statue has been at the center of a controversy as it was moved from its original location by Victor Orban government.
One of the most famous Hungarian poets, Attila József, sits nearby the Parliament in a melancholic pose. The statue reflects the tragic life of the poet who died at only 32 years old probably by suicide.
Under the statue you can read a transcription of one of his poems:
“As it would flown from my heart,
confusing, wise and big was the Danube.”
Famous Hungarian painter of the 19th century, Ignác Roskovics (1854/1915) statue perfectly celebrates the artist painting a view of the neighboring Chain Bridge.
The statue was made by Ukrainian artist Mykhailo Kolodko in two copies: the second can be found in the Ukrainian city where the painter was born Uzhhorod.
Famous writer Gyula Krúdy statue sits at one of his favorite places in Budapest: the ancient location of Downtown Café now Matild Café. Many of Gyula’s novels saw the light inside the café, and there is even a legend saying that he used red wine as ink for one of his short stories.
Sindbad’s author patiently awaits inspiration while saving a seat for you to pose with him. Don’t hesitate, you will also see many other people taking pictures.
Unique and Unusual statues in Budapest
The Fat Policeman
Nicknamed “Uncle Karl”, the Fat Policeman statue guards St. Stephen’s Basilica since 1987. You will notice that many people, including locals, rub his belly while passing by, according to a popular legend, this will prevent you from becoming fat.
Legend or not Uncle Karl’s fame has spread wide and sometimes you will even find lines to get shot with Budapest’s most famous policeman.
The Prince of Buda and the Princess of Pest
The romantic sculpture of the prince of Buda and the princess of Pest is worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. It represents two lovers who are divided by the Danube river.
The real history is much less tragic and after several centuries of expansion the two cities of Buda and Pest united in 1873. The small statue, situated in the Philosopher’s Garden on Gellert Hill is also a tribute to the union of the two cities.
The tiniest statue of King Franz Joseph
While walking on the elegant Liberty Bridge, on the side from where you can see the Parliament and the city center you will notice a very small statue about 20 centimeters of the Ukrainian artist Kolodko. The statue represents King Franz Joseph peacefully lying in an hammock with beatitude.
This is only one of the many small statues that Mykhailo Kolodko has disseminated around the city as Easter eggs. The majority are quite difficult to find as they often aren’t larger than a hand.
The tiny Ferenc Liszt at Budapest Airport
Also oeuvre of Kolodko, the tiny Ferenc Liszt, outside terminal 2A close to the bus stop, was placed there to honor the musician’s 200 birthday. Positioned on a granite column, you will need to approach in order to admire the tiny statue.
A small suitcase where Liszt is seating and a paper plane at his feet complete the composition reminding the location of the statue.
The Paul Street Boys
One of the most famous Hungarian novels is celebrated with a statue a few meters away from the famous Pal Street, in via Prater.
The novel by Ferenc Molnar marked the spirits of many generations and is considered a classic book for children in many different countries. There are also several movie adaptations that were produced over the years.
Outside the Skála Metró nearby Nyugati station you will find a small boy smiling, he’s Skála Kópé, the mascot of Skála General Store.
Skála Store was a very popular shopping center in Budapest. And around the 80s it had its TV advertisement featuring Skála Kópé, a cheeky boy with a big heart, symbolizing the fact that the store was very popular.
Note: the boy’s heart used to be red but the paint didn’t stand the test of time and it’s now the same bronze color as the rest of the statuette.
Herendi Fountain is a good marketing exemple. It was built using Herend original pieces, one of the most famous porcelain’s manufacturer. The fountain represents the tree of life.
In the same square you will find another porcelain fountain, it’s Zsolnay Fountain also built from an illustrious porcelain manufacturer Zsolnay. Both fountains were commissioned by the city of Budapest to decorate József Nádor Square.
The Little Princess
One of the most beloved statues in Budapest is the Little Princess by László Marton. The statue represents the artist’s daughter who used to wear princess-like clothes and a crown made of journal paper, which is the bizarre headdress she’s wearing.
The statue is situated on the Danube bank and has a very nice view on Buda Castle. Through the years it has become the unofficial symbol of Budapest and one of its most important statues.
It’s a wrap of the must see statues in Budapest
There are several more beautiful statues you will find while walking around, but I feel these are really the ones you shouldn’t miss! Are you preparing a trip to Budapest? Check out our travel guide for more tips and ideas on visiting.
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