A strange traffic jam of tourists on a seemingly random corner in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava doesn’t seem like it’d be a daily occurrence, but one particular intersection has a cheeky piece or art that always has people lined up to see it. Where Rybárska brána and Panská ulica streets cross there is a near constant group waiting for their chance to take a picture with one of the city’s most famous residents, Čumil.
The life-sized bronze statue of a man climbing out of the sewers below Bratislava is the work of Viktor Hulík, and was installed in 1997 as a small part of a much larger effort to bring people back to the old town district. Whether he is there to clean the sewers, rest a little after a hard day’s work, or peak up the skirts of unsuspecting women, Čumil, it seems is as shrouded in mystery as he is beloved. Known alternately as “Čumil the Peeper” or “Čumil the Sewer Worker”, the sculpture was intended to be somewhat ambiguous and is all the better for the mystery.
The location of the statue makes sense being that he is a sewer worker, but it also means he’s in a precarious spot when it comes to traffic. Čumil has been accidentally hit by a few careless drivers, lost his head a few times, and tripped more than a few intoxicated tourists wobbling their way back to their hotels. Despite being the cause of so many skinned knees he wears the same smirk and never seems too bothered.
- Čumil twice lost his head to traffic accidents.
- The sculpture is one of the most photographed in all of Slovakia.
- Čumil and several other bronze sculptures were installed in 1997.
- A nearby sign warns that all cars and pedestrians alike should “watch out for creeps underfoot.”
- There is a tradition of rubbing the nose for good luck.
- Warning! It is also said that rubbing Čumil’s nose by women can result in a visit from the stork.