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Do a little detective work whilst visiting Budapest and in a quiet side-street on the eastern side of the Danube, you‘ll discover a big, bronze statue of Columbo, the beloved TV detective played by Peter Falk. One of the more unusual finds on our European travels, we made a pilgrimage (well, I dragged Caroline along…) to the life-sized statue as I am a massive fan of Columbo. It was probably the best detective show of it’s time and still one of the best today – this might explain how it seems to be repeated every Sunday afternoon on UK television.
We didn’t go to Budapest especially to see the statue, but as we were already there visiting the ruin bars, we decided to make a side-trip to see Columbo up-close for ourselves. The likeness of the statue to Peter Falk is spot on, down to the crumpled rain-jacket and falling cigarette ash.
The statue is fairly recent, installed in 2014 and sculpted by Geza Feket, as part of an overall project to rejuvenate the area. Like many of Columbo’s storylines, the reason behind choosing Falk for such an accolade is a little mysterious and muddled.
The official reason is along the lines that Peter Falk ‘may’ (!) have been related to the 19th century local politician Miksa Falk (the street where the statue is located – Falk Mikca Utna – is also named after them). Although many dispute the link saying it isn’t very likely they were related, with ‘Falk’ being a fairly common Hungarian name.
The story becomes even more bizarre when we read afterwards that the bronze dog at Falk’s feet isn’t based on the pet beagle (called “Dog”) from the series, but a local dog named Franzi, who was part of the unveiling ceremony (but looked very similar to Columbo’s dog so they just went with it).
Whatever the reason, we were glad to visit and pose for some pictures with the statue. We visited at around 4pm on a weekday and apart from American tourists who had stumbled upon the statue purely by accident, we were the only tourists there snapping away. As such, we don’t think the statue is that well known about, but we are grateful for it’s surreal existence (a bit like the David Hasselhoff Museum in Berlin).
Just one more thing… all in all, the reason for the statue’s existence is beautifully vague and mysterious to say the least, but we appreciate a lasting European legacy to one of television’s most enduring TV detectives. Now, if we could just look forward to a Kojak statue unveiled in Birmingham one day…
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Check out our other Budapest blog posts
- Top things to do on a weekend visit to Budapest
- Eating our way around Budapest with Taste Hungary
- A visit to Gellert and Szechenyi thermal Baths in Budapest
- Szimpla Kert, exploring Budapest’s best ruin bar
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