Prague is one of the most unique cities in Europe, not only because they’ve managed to preserve their heritage for centuries, but because of the dark surrealistic and bizarre atmosphere the city gives off in particular places. One of the greatest catalysts, are statues and the sculptures that are spread throughout the city.
There are many statues that would fit in this list and this article wouldn’t be enough to go through all of them. So, I’ll just mention 6 that I got to witness first-hand.
The Iron Knight
The sculpture is of Jachym Berka, a medieval knight who, according to legend, was betrothed to a beautiful young woman he fell in love with while her blacksmith father was working on Berka’s armour.
While off fighting in another country, Berka heard malicious rumours of his fiancés infidelity. Stories differ on the circumstances, but the most dramatic version seems to be that, upon his return, he killed his fiancé in a jealous rage. Heartbroken, she cursed him with her last breath, and the knight immediately turned to stone. The knight was also cursed to walk the streets of Prague every 100 years, looking for redemption which can only be provided by a virtuous maiden’s kiss.
There are actually 2 works honoring Kafka, a statue and a continuous moving sculpture, both unique in their own ways. I won’t get into specifics about Kafka’s influence in literature, but I think these 2 statues are the perfect tribute to his work. The rotating statue is a reference to “Metamorphosis” and the headless statue a reference to “Description of a Struggle”.
Effigy on a grave
A simple tribute in one of Prague’s cemeteries turned into parks, Vysenhrad cemetery, symbolizing the peaceful transition of the soul leaving the body.
Babies by David Cerny
Originally created for the city of Chicago in 1994, they found their way in Prague around 2000. These creepy statues have a barcode stamped in their face and are located near Kampa museum. But, If you find yourself Zizkov Television Tower, look up and you’ll be surprised when you find them crawling up the tower.
Trifot by David Cerny
Trifot is a kinetic sculpture, a tribute to George Orwell’s famous dystopian book “1984”. The sculpture is modeled after vintage cameras and has eyeballs that track people who might be passing by. A dark perspective on surveillance and privacy.