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Street art in Prague is provocative, stirring and found in unusual places. Searching the Prague streets for these 9 installations is one of those “must see in Prague” items. Have a look. What do you think?
Prague has the most glorious skyline. Known as the city of five hundred spires, I found myself scanning and counting, my eyes following their trajectory skyward.
Amidst this enchantment though, lies another kind of treasure. Street art in Prague is a thriving scene. When wandering the Prague streets, you can’t miss the sculptures, installations, murals and, well, even the sewer grates are captivating.
Prague streets are bursting with design and detail.
Artistic expression is discovered at every turn.
Street art in Prague is thought-provoking, bizarre, historical and impactful.
As a participant in the recent TBEX (Travel Bloggers) Conference, I took part in a free walking tour with Prague City Tourism. These installations of Prague street art and many more were part of that tour.
Street Art In Prague
1. The Hanging Man In Prague
Look up … way up.
The hanging man is a must see in Prague that you could easily miss.
The hanging man in Prague is watching as you navigate his narrow, cobblestone street. David Černý, a Czech sculptor whose art is made for provocation, has created this sculpture, Man Hanging Out, in the image of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Is Freud himself pondering whether to hang on to life or let go?
The hanging man in Prague is looking quite casual with his hand in his pocket. Perhaps this representation of Sigmund Freud, the hanging man in Prague, is simply a metaphor for his theories. Will his theories endure into the 21st century?
Location: Old Town, at the intersection of Husova and Skorepka
2. Memorial To Franz Kafka
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” F. Kafka
He stands there – headless, handless and footless – with a representation of Kafka, riding atop his shoulders. Jaroslav Róna’s sculpture is inspired by events in one of Kafka’s early short stories, “Description of a Struggle.”
Franz Kafka, the famous Czech writer and Prague native, implored his friend Max Brod to burn all his writings after his death. Luckily for the rest of us, Max did not heed his friends request.
Location: found in the Jewish quarter between a synagogue and a church
3. Street Art In Prague: Dancers
Some sights of Prague take a little bit of searching for! Hidden behind the high walls of The Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia are Michal Gabriel’s Dancers. Situated in a lovely garden away from the hustle and bustle of Old Town, the Dancers fluid movements create a peaceful space to relax.
Summer: Open until 10 pm. Even on Mondays when the convent is closed.
4. Memorial To The Victims Of Communism
This must do in Prague rapidly connects the visitor to Czech history.
The plaque by this installation says it all.
“The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism.”
Olbram Zoubek’s piece of street art in Prague, created in collaboration with architects Zdeněk Holzel and Jan Kerel, leaves a weighty impact. Unveiled in 2002, this installation depicts seven bronze men who increasingly disappear – their body parts and clearly their spirits too – as they ascend the stairs.
The bronze strip, running between the men, tells a tale in numbers.
During the years between 1948 and 1989:
205,486 people in the former Czechoslovakia were found guilty of political crimes, 248 were executed, 4,500 died in prison, 327 died when trying to escape the country and 170,938 people fled or emigrated.
This street art in Prague requires one to stop.
The men drive home a very sobering reality of communism, which
only ended here in the early 1990s.
Location: at the bottom of the Petřín Hill and Újezd Street
5. Street Art In Prague: Piss
Prague street art also requires one to tap into a sense of humour. David Černý’s Piss installation has created a stir from the get-go. Two mechanical men peeing on a map in the shape of the Czech Republic. They gyrate and move their “junk.” You can apparently text them a location in the Czech Republic and they will piss on your location of choice. It’s all rather fascinating and definitely one of the sights of Prague not to miss!
Location: in front of the Franz Kafka Museum
6. Street Art In Prague: Head Of Franz Kafka
David Černý’s eleven-meter tall kinetic head of Franz Kafka draws immediate attention. Stand before this piece of Prague street art while the reflective, mechanical pieces move, shift and eventually align to create Kafka’s face.
Location: Quadrio Shopping Centre; right above the Národni třída metro station
7. The House Of The Suicide And The Mother Of The House Of The Suicide
Prague street art brings the tourist face to face with recent, sobering and critical events in the countries history.
This sculpture was originally created by American John Hejduk in 1986, in response to the David Shapiro poem “The Funeral of Jan Palach.” Jan Palach, a Czech university student, set himself on fire in January 1969, in protest of the 1968 Soviet invasion. Three days later he died. There is also a tribute to him at Wenceslas Square.
These sculptures have been moved several times but in 2016 they found a new home in what is now named Jan Palach Square (formerly “Red Army Square”).
The white statue, “the house of sun,” symbolizes a son carrying light, open to the heavens. The darker statue represents the mother closed in grief.
8. Street Art In Prague: Babies
As already discovered, Prague street art can be bizarre. David Černý’s unconventional monstrous babies are found outside the Museum Kampa and crawling up the tallest spire in Prague – the Žižkov TV Tower. Strange babies make for an interesting stop. Take a moment to ponder David Černý’s creative mind.
9. Street Art In Prague: Václav Havel
Prague street art also honours the famous and well-loved.
Tucked away in a large, open courtyard lies this large red heart surrounded by three metallic hearts. Kurt Gebauer’s sculpture is a tribute to Havel and his signature which he wrote followed by a heart.
This man, the last Czechoslovak President and the first President of the Czech Republic, spent his life as a playwright, poet, writer, dissident, activist, prisoner and politician.
Don’t just stroll pass this quartet of hearts without slowing to acknowledge an incredible figure in Czech history and world peace.
Location: courtyard adjoining the National Theatre.
What do you think of street art in Prague? Where have you seen thought-provoking street art?