Why are there shoes by the river Danube?

And why are there Peter Falk, a fat policeman and a painter in Budapest?

These are questions we asked ourselves on our adventures in Budapest – when we passed monuments and statues.

statues in Budapest

Columbo – Peter Falk

We leave a bakery, walk down a road and all of a sudden I whip out the camera. I can see the questionmarks in Patrick’s eyes but I am enthused – that’s Peter Falk! A statue of the actor Peter Falk right here in Budapest!
The questionmarks still haven’t dissolved and my explanations about crime, trenchcoats and bassets don’t help very much much either.
Right, I loved the crime drama “Columbo” with the somewhat scatterbrained and dim inspector. Peter Falk portrayed inspector Columbo of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1968 until 2003. Episodes were often full-length features. His character sported a creased trenchcoat, had ruffled hair, was a smoker and drove a Peugeot. His Basset Hound answered to the very original name Dog and was mostly lethargically spread out in the car. These movies were a huge part of my youth and no matter how many times I watched them, I was always able to see something new that I hadn’t noticed before.
So, there he is, Peter Falk in Budapest. But why? There are rumours that Peter Falk is related to Miska Falk (popular Hungarian politician 1828 – 1908). But this has never been confirmed. What is confirmed are the Hungarian roots of Peter Falk. I am sure he would have solved the case around why his statue stands in Budapest would he still be alive.


Falk Miska u.,
Budapest, 1055 Hungary

Little Princess (Kiskirálylány)

On a railing at the Danube banks, we spotted the “Little Princess”, a statue that was created by László Marton in 1972. However, what we saw was only a copy that replaced the original in 1990, which is now on display in the Hungarian National Gallery.
The inspiration for this piece came from Marton’s daughter who loved to play dress up as a princess at home. She would wear a paper crown and a dressing gown as a cape.
Legend has it that touching the princesses knees brings good luck and personal fulfilment.


Danube Promenade
Budapest, Hungary

statues in Budapest
statues in Budapest

Fat Policeman

In the pedestrian zone, near St. Stephen’s Basilica, we come across a really fat policeman. He reminds me of the Captain fröm Köpenick as he overlooks the street with his sabre and his hat.
The artist Illyés András allegedly shaped the statue after the body of his grandfather. It is said that throughout his life he loved the savoury Hungarian cuisine.
There is a legend to go with the statue. Rubbing the round belly of the policeman is said to bring good luck in love.


Zryinyi Utca,
Budapest, Hungary

Shoes along the Danube banks

It is a bizarre and almost comedic image, the shoes along the Danube embankment and the tourists around them. To be honest, the majority of them is not going to be aware of why the shoes are there. Too bad that this monument doesn’t have a plaque or an info panel to find out more about the shoes. Maybe this would help visitors to not only see the shoes but also the history around them.
About 300 meters from the Parliament building, on the Pest side of the river, are 60 pairs of metal shoes. The commemorate the murder of Hungarian Jews between 1944 and 1945. An estimated 2600 to 3600 people were gathered along the Danube banks and shot. The shoes that make the monument are grouped together without any obvious order, almost randomly placed, like they were left behind. They symbolise the many victims of the murders at the Danube banks.

statues in Budapest

Ronald Reagan

We discovered a Ronald Reagan statue on the Szabadság Square. It was created by the artist Stván Máté to honour the former president’s efforts to end the Cold War.
Looking over the president’s shoulder from behind him, one can see the Soviet War Memorial on the Freedom Square. When facing the president one can see the Parliament building behind him. Reagan walks away from the Parliament building towards the War Memorial – let’s say that is a coincidence or that Reagan was on a sightseeing tour.


Szabadság tér 16,
Budapest, 1054 Hungary

statues in Budapest
statues in Budapest
statues in Budapest

Girl with a dog

Artist Raffay Dávid created his piece “Girl with a Dog” in 2007. It is near the “Little Princess” on the Danube embankment and quickly became a famous photo spot.
Unfortunately, there was no further information on this statue in Budapest that I could find.


Belgrád rkp.,
Budapest, 1056 Hungary

Imre Nagy – Man on a Bridge

We come across a very fascinating memorial on Martyr Square. There is a man standing on a bridge. There are pretty flowers around him and a panel tells us his name: Imre Nagy.
Who was Imre Nagy? Unfortunately, the only facts about his identity are on a Hungarian info panel. But nothing stops you from doing your own research! Imre Nagy was a Hungarian politician and two times head of government. He was a firm supporter of reform policies and the people of Hungary placed a lot of trust in him. He played a vital role in the national uprising in Hungary in 1956. He was executed in 1958 and became a national hero. A grave of honour was created for him on the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


Vertanuk Tere / Kossuth Ter,
Budapest, Hungary

statues in Budapest
statues in Budapest

Roskovics Ignac the painter

There is one more statue on the Danube embankment and that is the one of Roskovics Ignac, the painter. He lived between 1854 and 1915 and painted religious motives.

I have to say, I really liked that one. The amount of detail is striking – in the way the artist holds his pen or in the design of the sketch on the aisle.


Belgrád rkp.,
Budapest, 1056 Hungary


We found another statue that I liked a lot on our walks along the streets of Budapest.

This statue is located near the entrance to a playground. If I am not mistaken, this statue was designed by Lajos Szőke (1912 – 2015). The paperboy in his short-sleeved shirt is carrying an issue of the Blikk, a Hungarian newspaper.


Október 6 u. 3,
Budapest, 1051 Hungary

statues in Budapest


  1. Astrid Vinje on 19. April 2019 at 0:26

    Great stories about these statues. The story behind the shoes is so sad! But I do like the girl with the dog statue.

  2. Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions on 18. April 2019 at 17:00

    What an informative post, and I really like how focus on the city’s statues instead of just writing about Budapest in general. I suspected the shoes were installed in memory of Jews who were killed, but they should really put a sign up. The stories associated with the other statues are also really interesting; I think the fat policeman one is cute. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Mei and Kerstin on 17. April 2019 at 18:24

    Awesome statues! We visited Budapest a few years ago, but stayed most of our time in Buda, because Pest was a bit too stressful for us. haha… So we didn’t see any of these sculptures. Next year we’ll go back to Budapest for work. We’ll certainly consider going to see these awesome staties! Thanks a lot for sharing thi!

  4. Jing on 17. April 2019 at 2:54

    I have been to Budapest 7 years ago and missed some of these statues. It’s great and interesting to know the stories behind these, especially the shoes along the Danube River. I pass by the Fat Policeman everyday for two weeks because the university I went to is just right by that statue. :-)

  5. Joanne on 16. April 2019 at 6:47

    We visited Budapest last summer and loved the statues. We missed some of these though! We’ll have to return to visit the paper boy and Columbo. We found the Shoes on the Danube to be so touching.

  6. Jerry and Fiona on 16. April 2019 at 3:45

    Poignant and whimsical, no doubt. We hope to visit Hungary and some of her spa towns one day; we now see a walking tour in Budapest is a must. The Girl with the Dog remains a mystery!

  7. Alison on 16. April 2019 at 2:42

    I have wanted to see the shoes along the Danube for quite some time. I am surprised there is not a plaque commemorating the victims and explaining the placement of the shoes. I look forward to visiting Budapest and seeing the other statues too. I might even give the Fat Policeman’s belly a rub!

  8. Sandra Papas on 15. April 2019 at 1:45

    I did know about the shoes but not some of the other things. Thanks for filling me in.

  9. Jenn and Ed Coleman on 14. April 2019 at 22:02

    The shoes along the Danube is really a moving piece. We were in the Holocaust Museum in DC and saw a display of all the shoes collected from the concentration camp. It really brought home the idea that each pair of these shoes belonged to a person and that person was killed. Very moving.

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