From a saint on the Charles Bridge to a martyred king, and from victims of totalitarianism to barcoded babies, here’s our guide to 20 of the best Prague statues to visit.
Prague statues are among the city’s most famous landmarks, and visiting them is a great way to piece together the city’s past. And get an insight into modern Czech culture and humour.
Some are objects of religious devotion, while some of the David Černý statues in Prague are expressions of irreverence and also amazing invention.
Our guide to 20 of the most intriguing statues Prague has covers all area of the city, though many of them can be found in or close to the city centre. We hope you enjoy it.
Prague Statues – Our Pick Of The Best
Franz Kafka, Prague Old Town
Il Commendatore, or the Cloak of Conscience, Estates Theatre
King Charles IV
St Wenceslas, Wenceslas Square
Piss, by David Černý
Memorial to the Victims of Communism
Prague Statues – Old Town Area
St John Nepomuk, Charles Bridge
The statue of St John Nepomuk is perhaps the best-known of the statues on Charles Bridge in Prague. It was the first to be placed on the parapet of the bridge, in 1683, and is close to the spot where the saint was thrown into the Vltava river in a casket to drown.
Jan of Nepomuk heard a private confession from the Queen of Bohemia, but her suspicious husband, Wenceslas IV, demanded that he reveal the details. He considered the confidentiality sacrosanct, so Wenceslas decided to execute him.
As he drowned, eyewitnesses reported seeing five stars above where the casket sank. These five stars appear above his head in a halo, and this motif appears on statues of him all over the Czech Republic, where he is widely revered.
The statue, near the middle of the Charles Bridge, was based on a clay model by Matthias Rauchmiller, and cast by Jan Brokoff.
Location: Charles Bridge, Prague
Getting there: If approaching from Prague Old Town, trams 2, 17 or 18 to Staroměstská, or the station of the same name on Metro line A, then a 4- minute walk
See Also: The 8 Most Beautiful Bridges In Prague
Jan Hus, Old Town Square
The prominent series of statues in Prague Old Town Square depicts priest and would-be church reformer Jan Hus, who rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church in the early 15th century – over a hundred years before the Reformation – and paid for his beliefs with his life.
The Art Nouveau statue, by Ladislav Šaloun, is flanked by figures of Hussites and also exiles from the catastrophic Bohemian defeat at the Battle of Bila Hora in 1620. Hus is at the front of the ensemble, being burned at the stake. A series of inscriptions around the statues includes the words,”After the storms of rage pass, control of your matters will return to you.”
Location: Old Town Square, Prague
Getting there: trams 2, 17 or 18 to Staroměstská, or the station of the same name on Metro line A, then a 3- minute walk
King Charles IV, Křížovnické náměstí
The statue of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, is one of the grandest in the city, and surveys one of the most beautiful of all Prague squares. It’s surrounded by two of the most recognisable churches in Prague, St Francis of Assisi and St Salvator, and the Gothic Old Town Bridge Tower.
Charles left his mark on the city in many ways, including the Bridge a few steps away, and also Charles University, one of the most prestigious in the Czech Republic, founded in 1348.
This statue, designed by Dresden sculptor Ernst Julius Haehnel, depicts Charles holding the Charter of the University, and unveiled 1851, and is surrounded by four figures representing the original four faculties (legal, medical, philosophical and theological) of the University. It was unveiled in 1851, three years later than intended.
Location: Křížovnické náměstí, at the Old Town end of the Charles Bridge
Getting there: Trams 2, 17 or 18 to Staroměstská, or the station of the same name on Metro line A, then a 4- minute walk
Franz Kafka Statue, Prague Old Town
One of the quirkiest Prague statues – and there are several – is Jaroslav Rona’s highly unusual figure of author Franz Kafka outside the Spanish Synagogue in the heart of Josefov, the Prague Jewish quarter.
The figure of Kafka is sitting on the shoulders of a much larger figure with a hole for a head. It is inspired by Kafka’s short story, Description of A Struggle, in which the protagonist is carried around by a headless character. The statue was completed and installed in 2003.
Location: Siroka, in the Old Town, a few steps from the Spanish Synagogue
Getting there: Staroměstská Metro and tram (2, 17, 18) stops are a 5-minute walk away.
Man Hanging Out, Husova
This hanging statue of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud is one of the best-known David Černý Prague sculptures. The figure is dangling from a ledge on a house in Husova, in the southern end of Old Town Prague.
Freud was often preoccupied with thoughts of his own death, and in this piece he is contemplating whether to hang on or let go. It’s a very convincing statue, so much so that in the years after it was installed, some members of the public would contact Prague emergency services believing it to be a real man.
Location: Husova, near the junction with Betlémské náměstí
Getting there: Trams 2, 9, 17, 18 and 22 to Národní divadlo, then a 4-5 minute walk
ll Commendatore, or the Cloak of Conscience
One of the moist captivating Prague statues can be found outside the magnificent Estates Theatre (Stavovske divadlo) in Prague Old Town. The Theatre hosted Mozart’s world premiere of Don Giovanni in 1787, and the statue, by Czech-German artist Anna Chromy, is of an empty cloak, appearing as it would if someone was wearing it, with the head and shoulders forming its shape.
The statue is named Il Commendatore after one of the characters in the opera, who is murdered during the first Act. He later reappears in the action, with the statue on his tomb speaking to Don Giovanni and later turning up for dinner, before the title character disappears into the flames of hell.
Chromy worked on several versions of the statue, which are also called the Cloak of Conscience. Other versions of the statue can be found in the Royal Palace Gardens in Monaco, Salzburg Cathedral, and the German island of Sylt.
Location: Outside the Estates Theatre, on Železná
Getting there: Můstek Metro (green line A and yellow line B) is a 300 metre walk away.
Prague Statues – New Town
St Wenceslas, Wenceslas Square
The equestrian figure of St Wenceslas is one of the most recognizable Prague statues, occupying a prominent spot below the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square.
It’s the work of Josef Vaclav Myslbek, and was completed in 1924, six years after Czechoslovakia gained independence. The main figure of Wenceslas (Vaclav in Czech) is surrounded by other Bohemian saints – Agnes, Ludmila, Prokop (Procopius), and Adalbert.
Wenceslas is the patron saint of the Czechs, and ruled as Duke of Bohemia from 921 to 935, when he was murdered by his brother Boleslav and three accomplices in the nearby town of Stara Boleslav. He was considered a just, virtuous ruler and was declared a martyr and saint soon after his death. He is the subject of the carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’.
His relics are kept in the St Wenceslas Chapel in St Vitus Cathedral.
Location: Vaclávské náměstí
Getting there: Metro to Muzeum (green line A or red line C)
See Also: 22 Landmarks of Prague To Visit
Upside Down Horse, Lucerna Passage
Czech sculptor and artist David Černý often likes to stir the pot a little, with what can best be described as humorous expressions of irreverence. The Upside Down Horse in Lucerna Passage is a tongue-in-cheek riposte to the statue of St Wenceslas a couple of hundred metres away near the top of Wenceslas Square.
Černý has Wenceslas sitting upright, on the horse’s belly, with its legs pointing towards the glass dome above and head towards the floor. My son and I passed it this morning and noticed a detail we hadn’t spotted previously – the horse’s tongue is hanging out.
Location: Lucerna Pasaz
Getting there: Tram 3, 5,6, 8, 9, 14 and 24 to Vaclávské náměstí
See Also: 27 Hidden Gems In Prague
Franz Kafka Head, Quadrio Shopping Centre
Arguably the city’s most famous literary figure, Franz Kafka is also commemorated with this constantly moving Prague head statue behind the Quadrio Shopping Centre on Spalena in the New Town. And it’s perhaps fitting that this should be the work of Prague’s most famous contemporary artist and sculptor, David Černý.
Sections of the large glass and metal head of Franz Kafka rotate, the spectacle constantly changing. Černý has produced another identical work, Metalmorphosis, which can be found in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Location: Behind the Quadrio shopping centre, on Spalena.
Getting there: Národní třida, Metro line B. Trams 2, 9, 18 and 22 also stop outside the front of the Quadrio – it’s only a minute’s walk through it to the Franz Kafka Head.
Sir Nicholas Winton and Kindertransport, Prague Main Station
Near the end of platform one of Prague main train station is one of the most poignant statues in Prague. A man holds a child close to him while a young girl next to them looks forlorn and downcast.
These statues commemorate British broker Nicholas Winton who organized the September 1939 Kindertransport from Prague, taking these unaccompanied children away from their families in desperately sad scenes, but saving their lives from the coming Nazi deportations and mass murders.
Some British readers may recall seeing Winton on Esther Rantzen’s That’s Life TV programme in 1987, when numerous members of the audience sitting around him revealed themselves as the children saved by him, bringing him and many viewers to tears.
When we first saw the statues, my son immediately picked up on the girl’s sadness, and gave her a huge hug. Now, ironically, the same station has recently been the arrival point for many refugees seeking sanctuary from the invasion of Ukraine.
The statues are the work of Flora Kent, and installed in 2009.
Location: Praha hl n, Platform 1 South
Getting there: Hl N Metro, red line C
See Also: 15 Prague World War 2 Sites To Discover
Musicians of Prague Statues and Fountain
Anna Chromy’s exuberant series of statues in Senovážné náměstí are one of the hidden gems in Prague, located on a quiet square just five minutes from Wenceslas Square and the main train station.
The dancing, blindfolded figures represent four of the great rivers of the world – the Ganges, Danube, Mississippi, and Amazon – with each of them playing an instrument. We often pass these Prague statues on the tram – and it always strikes me how lifelike they are.
Location: Senovážné náměstí, New Town Prague
Getting there: Trams 3, 5, 6, 9, 14, 24 and 25 stop at Jindřišská, less than a minute’s walk away. It’s also just a few minutes’ walk from Prague main train station (Praha Hlavní nádraží) and Masarykovo nádraží).
František Palacký Monument
Stanislav Sucharda’s monument to historian Frantisek Palacky is one of the most extraordinary Art Nouveau Prague sculptures. Unveiled in 1912 on Palackého náměstí, it honours this historian who did much to raise Czech national consciousness during the 19th century, advocating greater freedoms under Austrian rule.
The monument consists of a series of dramatic bronze figures surrounding a rather severe, stern-looking stone statue of the historian himself. We pass it on the tram all the time, and from some angles it bears some resemblance to Frankenstein. The bronzes symbolize the Czechs’ struggle for freedom from oppression.
Location: Palackého náměstí, Prague New Town
Getting there: Tram to Palackého náměstí (2,3, 4, 10, 16, 17, 18) or Metro (yellow line B) to Karlovo náměstí, then follow the signs to the Palackého náměstí exit from the platform.
Prague Statues – Malá Strana (Lesser Town)
Piss, Franz Kafka Museum
The famous Prague peeing statue by David Černý is perhaps the funniest – and most irreverent – of Prague statues. Two male figures stand at either end of a bronze pool that just happens to be in the shape of the Czech Republic.
And there’s nothing like a bit of audience participation to attract interest – you can send a text message to a number marked near the statues, and they will then pee the words you request into the pool.
Location: In the courtyard of the Franz Kafka Museum, in Cihelna, Mala Strana.
Getting there: Metro line A or tram 1, 2, 12, 15, 18, 20 22 and 25 to Malostranska, then a 3-minute walk – or a 5-minute walk from the Charles Bridge.
Babies, Kampa Park
If you look closely at the Žižkov TV tower you’ll notice a group of babies curiously, mischievously climbing the late Socialist Prague landmark. From afar they seem cute, another humorous touch by the most prolific producer of Prague sculpture in modern times, David Černý.
However, when you see these baby statues in Prague up close the impression can be very different. Three of these crawling babies (Miminka) can be found outside the Kampa Museum in Kampa Park. They are cast in bronze and make popular climbing obstacles for many kids passing by. It’s only when you see their faces – each of which is barcoded – that the cuteness dissipates somewhat, leaving a disconcerting, almost sinister feeling.
Location: Kampa Park, Kampa Island, Mala Strana
Getting there: Trams 12, 15, 20 and 22 to Hellichova, then a 5-minute walk – otherwise a 5-minute walk from the Charles Bridge
Infant of Prague
The smallest of our statues of Prague is tucked away in a side chapel of the Baroque Church of Our Lady Victorious. The Holy Infant Jesus of Prague statue, which is believed to date from the 16th century, has been an object of veneration and devotion for 400 years, because of its supposed miraculous properties.
It is believed to have been made in Spain, and brought to Prague by Duchess Marie Manriquez de ? when she came to the city to be married. Her daughter donated it to the Discalced Carmelites (also known as the Barefoot Carmelites). It was later damaged – its arms were broken off – and lost for a few years, only to be discovered in a pile of junk.
According to tradition, the statue then said, ”Give me my arms, and I will bring you peace.” It soon attracted interest and further miracles were attributed to it, and it attracts pilgrims, especially from Spanish-speaking parts of the world.
For most of the year the statue, in a chapel in the north aisle of the church – is elaborately dressed, and sometimes even crowned. However, during the Advent (pre-Christmas) season this famous figure is left dressed in a simple robe, as shown in our image above.
Location: Our Lady Victorious Church, Mala Strana, Prague
Getting there: Trams 12, 15, 20 and 22 to Hellichova, or a 10-minute walk from the Charles Bridge.
Karel Hynek Macha, Petřin Hill
Karel Hynek Macha (1810-1836) was a popular Bohemian romantic poet best known among Czechs for his poem ‘Maj’ (‘May’) which is still an inspiration for local lovers, nearly two centuries after it was written.
Hynek Macha lived on Újezd, a short walk down from his statue, which is near the bottom of Petřin Hill Prague. He died at the age of 25 of pneumonia, and was only ‘discovered’ many years later. He inspired one of the traditions of Prague in springtime, when lovers kiss under the white blossom trees on the lower slopes of Petřin Hill.
Location: Petřin Gardens, close to the Hunger Wall on the lower slopes of the south side.
Getting there: Trams 9, 12, 15, 20 and 22 stop atÚjezd, a few minutes’ walk down the hill. The lower terminus of the Petřin funicular – also named Újezd – is a little closer than the tram stops.
Memorial To Victims Of Communism
This series of six Prague statues commemorates the victims of the repressive totalitarian Communist system imposed on Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1989 by the Soviet Union.
The six figures are of the same man, but as you ascend the steps, each figure has withered away more and more, until there is very little left of the person at the bottom at the end of the journey.
My take on it is that, with the passage of time, the Communist system wears the whole figure down, mentally, spiritually and physically. So by the end of the journey the figure is broken, a shadow of his former self.
The figures are by Olbram Zoubek, and Jan Kerel and Zdeněk Holzel designed the installation.
Location: Aleje Obed Totality, off Ujezd
Getting there: Trams 9, 12, 15, 20 and 22 to Ujezd
Réva (Wine) Kampa Park
This statue in Kampa Park doesn’t even get a mention on Google Maps at the time of writing, but I’ve always considered it one of the prettiest Prague statues.
It’s known as Wine (‘Reva’) and is the work of Vobišova-Žakova from 1960 in white Carrara marble. It’s surprising the Communists, who were very reluctant to show nudity or hint at the mention of sex, allowed it to stand.
It’s also known as Dívka s hrozny, or Girl with Grapes.
Location: Kampa Park, Mala Strana
Getting there: Trams 12, 15, 20 and 22 to Hellichova, then a 5-minute walk – otherwise a 5-minute walk from the Charles Bridge
Prague Statues – Hradčany
Empress Maria Theresa
The newest statue in Prague on our list is of Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa, who was also Queen of Bohemia. The unveiling of this statue coincided with the installation of a new Marian Column in Prague Old Town Square, and both attracted considerable controversy.
Maria Theresa has never been particularly popular with the Czechs. She instigated reforms including primary education and the introduction of paper money. However, curtailing Bohemian freedom, and referring to the Crown of St Wenceslas as ‘a fool’s cap’ was never going to endear her to her subjects, and she became known as the Stepmother of Bohemia.
The statue – unveiled in 2020 – is the work of Jan Kovařik and Jan Proksa, and has divided opinion as much as the monarch herself. To me, the faceless white figure resembles a female chess-piece. Others have described it as an upturned wine glass and a skittle. It’s certainly one of the most unusual Prague statues.
Location: Prašny Most Tram Stop
Getting there: Trams 1,2, 20, 25
Prague Statues – Žižkov
Jan Žižka, Vitkov
Vitkov Hill, between Žižkov and Karlin, was the scene of a pivotal battle in 1420 between Hussite forces and the Catholic ‘crusaders’ led by Sigismund of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Hussites, led by Jan Žižka, won a famous victory here, and the site was later chosen for the Monument to the Czechoslovak Legion, which fought during World War I.
The 22-metre-high statue can be seen from miles away across Prague, and it’s the third-largest equestrian statue in the world. It was designed and sculpted by Bohumil Kafka, and unveiled in 1950.
Location: On the summit of Vitkov Hill
Getting there: On foot from…