Situated in the front the corner of Rybárska brána, the Fishermen’s gate, at the junction of Panská and Laurinská streets in the Old Town of Bratislava, the unusual bronze statue named Čumil, but popularly called Man at Work, depicts the torso of a man with a hard headgear, who peeks his head from underneath a manhole cover, rests his chin on his arms and keeps looking, with a grin on his face. Čumil is a Slovak word, which means, the watcher. There are two possible explanations for its name. It is possible that the man in the statue is trying to take some rest after a hard day’s work of cleaning the sewer or it is also possible that he is waiting patiently to get a look under the skirts of the passing women.
It is also said that the man in bronze represents a typical worker in the communist era, who is least bothered about his work, doing almost nothing during his working hours and passes his time lazily by watching the surrounding area and the people around him.
In fact, Cumil and some other statues that include Paparazzi, Napoleon’ Soldiers and Schöner Naci, appeared in the old town in 1997, a couple of years after the Slovak independence, when the city was trying to polish its tarnished image after its dark Communist rule. Cumil is the creation of the Slovak sculptor Viktor Hulík, who was born in Bratislava, in the year 1947 and since 1997, when the statue was first embedded in the ground, it has become one of the popular symbols of Bratislava.
Unfortunately, the poor statue lost its head twice, due to callous and careless driving. To take precaution against any such further mishap, it was given its special road sign, reminding the drivers and the passers-by about Čumil, the man at work.
It may sound ridiculous, but it is said and believed by the locals that those who touch the head of the man will get a wish come true, provided they keep it a secret from others forever.
Čumil is one of the most photographed statues of the town of Bratislava, which attracts tourists around the world at the junction of Laurinská and Panská streets.