What Has Marx Ever Done for Us?

Build it and they will come! Is this what the residents of the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary thought when they build this statue. Maybe. So, for anyone with an interest in the German philosopher Karl Marx and by chance in the Czech Republic with a bit of spare time then you should head on over this picturesque town. The statue can be found in Zámecký vrch (Castle Hill) park alongside other monuments to important Czech figures. If that friendly nudge isn’t enough then at this point you are probably wanting a little more background about the statue and wondering, other than Czech being a former communist country, why the strong association with Marx.

Well, the German philosopher had in fact visited the town no less than three times during his lifetime. For anyone particularly interested in 1874, 1875, and 1876. We really go the whole hog with research here at MGSG. The purpose had been to visit the famous hot springs that can still be found dotted across the town. It was and is believed that the waters have some form of medicinal properties. Only three times I hear you yell! Well it should be said that this is arguably a less shaky claim to an association with Marx than many other towns and cities across Eastern Europe that also host monuments and statues to the man.


As Marx Himself Once Said: Timing Is Everything!

To me however, what is maybe more interesting is that the unveiling ceremony took place on 05 May 1988. A date that in hindsight is particularly late in the day for celebrating socialist figures. Within a few years the USSR would have broken apart and democratic elections would be sweeping across the region. I would liked to have a fly on the wall in that town council meeting, assuming there was one…

The Zámecký vrch (Castle Hill) park is located right across from the site of the Soviet consulate and the gesture was seen as a formal act of friendship between the two countries. The statue itself is a classical sculpture in bronze depicting a serene Marx dressed in a toga and sitting atop a granite pedestal. It is the work of a local sculptor, Karel Kuneš but in truth this was not the sculpture’s first depiction of Marx. An earlier bust had been placed in the same park at an earlier date but has now disappeared from the records (any news of it’s location would be appreciated from readers).

So, another day another random monument to Karl Marx. But, let’s be honest. It is getting harder and harder to find another interesting monuments to this guy. As the project has continued and we slowly make our way through some of the more obvious monuments and shrines we are increasingly finding that a lot of monuments have either been destroyed or are locked away and the public is unable to visit them. As we have repeatedly stated we take no stance on the validity of such decisions. We only mention this as we wanted to ask any of the readership of the blog to help out with the research and suggest some monuments themselves. The more obscure the better. The best way to get in touch is to send us a message via the contact form.


Photo credit:  Photo 1 by Juan de Vojníkov and Photo 2 by Vinayak Hegde.