Čumil, Man at Work, Sights in Bratislava, Slovakia

Čumil, Man at Work – Sights in Bratislava

Today we will tell you about one quirky statue in Bratislava, Slovakia. His name is Čumil, the Slovak word actually means “watcher”. It only takes a quick glance at the face of the man at work at the junction of Laurinská and Panská Streets to understand why he goes by the name “the watcher”. The bronze statue, with a grin on his face, peeks his head from underneath a manhole cover in the Old Town and he is popular among tourists and locals alike. You cannot visit Bratislava without saying hi to Čumil! And make sure to take a photo – this is actually one of the most photographed objects in Bratislava.

A Bit of History about Čumil: “The Man at Work” in Bratislava

Čumil is one of many statues in the Old Town of Bratislava. Other statues include Paparazzi, Schöner Náci, and Napoleon’s Soldier. These statues appeared in 1997, a couple of years after Slovak independence. This was at a time when the city was polishing its image after its Communist past. Čumil is the work of Slovak sculptor Viktor Hulík. The artist was born in 1947 in Bratislava.

As for Čumil, there are a couple of theories about his name. Maybe he’s trying to get a look under the ladies’ skirts or perhaps he’s a typical communist-era worker who works little and watches a lot? Or maybe he’s resting after a hard day’s work cleaning the sewer. Either way, this sympathetic man seems to enjoy his surroundings.

There are careless drivers everywhere and Bratislava is no exception! The poor statue actually lost his head twice. Because of this, he was given his own road sign that reminds passers-by of the man at work.

Legend has it that those who touch the head of the man will get a wish come true – if they manage to keep it a secret forever.

Where in Bratislava is Čumil Hiding? How to Find Him?

The best way to find this spot is on foot. Amongst the cafés, restaurants, and shops of the Old Town, you will find the statue. It is situated in front of the corner of Rybárska brána (Fishermen’s gate), at the junction of Panská and Laurinská streets. Just follow the crowds and as we already said, bring your camera! There’s often a street band playing on the corner as well.

Do you want to know more about Bratislava? Check out our Bratislava Guide here!

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Punita Malhotra

    This is a really interesting post. I did not know of this Bratislava icon. Now that I do, I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled to locating as many versions of him as possible…when we go.

  2. Melissa

    I saw him when I was there, but I had no idea what/ who he was!! Love when I can put it all together, so much cooler with the back story. What a fun post 🙂

  3. Oh, I can’t believe I missed him when I was there! I was just passing through but this is so cool I wish I’d stopped to find him! Next time, definitely. Very cool post!

  4. This is great! I have seen so many pictures of the Man at work and always wanted to go and see it. I didn’t know there were more statues so this is very useful, thanks!

  5. What a cool statue. Thanks for this tip. We love these little gems of local culture and they’re often easy to miss. We’ll definitely get some selfies with the watcher next time were in Bratislava.

  6. Natalie

    I love an icon like this!! We always travel with the kids and make a point to see colorful city icons like this. They always enjoy! The story behind an icon is interesting, too.

  7. Tatum Skipper

    Reminds me of that little statue in Brussels! So funny about the “looking under a girls skirt” theory. I love these hidden little things that make a city so unique! Will have to check it out 🙂

  8. Ami

    That is an interesting but sad trivia. It would be fun spotting this guy and asking for a wish, just for the fun of it. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Luca

    I didn’t know about this statue or well, I remember I saw it in the past, but ignored name, city and history behind it. Before reading your article I was still thinking it was something related to second world war and people hiding.

  10. Sandy N Vyjay

    This article is interesting. I would sure love to click Cumil. I was ignorant about Cumil in Bratislava. But now I know whom to spot when in Bratislava.

  11. Brianna

    This is a cute post, and very informative! I can think of some fun poses to do with this statue! It’s interesting that the drivers have hit him so much!

  12. Ashley Buchan

    Bratislava is a very underrated place to visit. The old town is a beautiful European area. I did not see this gentleman when I was there, I wish I’d read your post beforehand, I would have went to look for him!

  13. That is a pretty cool sculpture that reminds us of Slovakia’s history. The sculptur had a sense of humour it appears.

  14. Soumya Nambiar

    Cumil seems to be an interesting person or should I say sculpture? I like how there are different theories about his name. Wonder which one is true. Hopefully he will be still around when I visit.

  15. Such an interesting post 🙂 Bratislava is a magnificent city, I love the Old Town. There are so many things to see! Thank you for Čumil history 🙂

  16. Genie Patra

    Aw what a cute little quirk to the city! I would probably have not even noticed walking past. Actually on my recent trip to Vienna my driver told me that I need to visit Bratislava! Now it’s on my list

  17. WhereMonicaGoes

    Your article makes me reminisce my time in Bratislava. I have seen this statue, but have no idea who he is or what he stands for. I noticed that there are many interesting statues or monuments within the city and it makes it so remarkable!

  18. Dave

    How creative of the city (and sculptor) to come up with such an amusing detail! My initial thought was, “they put a sign up for this?” but your explanation makes total sense (crazy drivers there, huh?) In America we seem to favor bronze humans sitting on park benches but I can’t recall anything as whimsical as Cumil.

  19. anne leueen

    I remember these in Bratislava when I was there about 12 years ago. Very entertaining and fun to see.

    1. Jesper

      The statues around Bratislava is so well thought of. It is interesting when they can create so long lasting memories and still be a part of your memory of the city 🙂

  20. Easymalc

    A great post about our friend Cumil 🙂

  21. maristravels

    I, too, photographed the many street sculptures in Bratislava – they are fascinating. I love this one in particular, and there was one by a bench in the main square that I was photographed with. Thanks for all the information.

    1. Jesper

      The many sculptures really add an extra dimension to exploring the Old Town of Bratislava. Could it have been Napoleon’s Army Soldier that you met at the park bench? 🙂

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