The legacy of writer Franz Kafka can be found all over Prague. For a writer who so artfully mixed realism with the fantastic, it makes sense that many of his appearances in the city are less than obvious. We take a look at some of the locations you can catch a glimpse of Kafka.
Franz Kafka Museum
You could choose to leave the Kafka museum till the end of your journey, but we think it makes sense to start your tour here instead. Why? Because starting here will help you take a deeper look into who Kafka really was and it will make the rest of the locations a lot more meaningful. Located near the river and Charles Bridge, the museum is home to a comprehensive collection of unusual and appropriately dark exhibitions that include original manuscripts, first editions, photographs and letters. There are also 3D exhibits and audiovisual pieces that will really help you understand what made Kafka tick.
Unfortunately, no original building that could be directly linked to Kafka remains today. The house where he was born no longer exists and the building where he lived while writing Metamorphosis was destroyed and the InterContinental Hotel later built on the site. However, one place that does remain is Café Louvre (although it has been refurbished), a place Kafka loved and visited often that has changed very little over the past few decades.
Kafka inspired sculptures
Renowned Czech sculptor David Černý is known for his sometimes whimsical, sometimes weird works of art. He deserves a mention here because at least two of his works have a direct connection to Kafka. The first sculpture worth seeing is right outside the Kafka museum and it’s called, very appropriately, Pissing (it’s two men facing each other and peeing on a fountain shaped like the Czech Republic).
The second statue, in Nové Město, is called Metamorphosis after Kafka’s most famous book and it consists of an 11 meter (36ft) tall head made up of tiers that move, turn and eventually align to form the face of Kafka.
Another famous statue, by sculptor Jaroslav Rona, is a memorial to Kafka. It consists of a headless man carrying a smaller man on his shoulders. It is meant to depict the famous writer and a representation of something mentioned in Kafka’s Description of a Struggle short story. It’s one of the most photographed sculptures in Prague.