Budapest has plenty of things that make it a delightful city to visit. One of them must be an innocuous statuette sitting casually on a railing along the Danube promenade, right in front of the track on which the famed Tram # 2 runs – the Little Princess.
As seems the norm these past few years, I found her quite by chance. Walking along the promenade between Elizabeth Bridge and Chain Bridge on the Pest side, I initially spotted Tram # 2, ranked as among the top 10 tram rides anywhere in the world. While I didn’t do the journey, hopping on the tram gives you the best possible views of either sides of the city – Buda and Pest. All this for a fraction of a cost.
Trying to get the best possible click of the tram, I kept pacing up and down until there she was, simply staring ahead. My first thoughts were that it was modelled on a boy. A bit of research and I was corrected. Turns out, she is the creation of László Marton. His daughter, Évika, loved to dress up as a princess. A bathrobe made up her mantle while the crown was made of newspapers cut out to look like a court jester’s hat.
He initially created a 50cm statuette, which can be seen at the Hungarian National Gallery. Sometime in 1990, he was requested to make a large sized statuette, which is what you see on the promenade. A copy of this same sculpture is also there in his hometown of Tapolca, while another one was donated to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space Cultural Centre. She looks on at visitors in front of the centre’s concert hall.
I don’t know what it is about bronze installations around the world, but the local story is that if you rub her knees expect an epiphanic moment and good luck too. Sounds good to me.
Am not sure if it was the call of a beer on this hot day or I was just impatient, but I would have loved to catch her with Tram # 2 which runs right behind her, in one single frame. Hopefully when I visit the next time.