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Schöne Náci

Did you know that the statue of the smiling gentleman greeting people entering the Main Square with a cylinder in his hand was a real person?

Schöne Náci, a famous figure in Bratislava, was an inseparable part of the capital’s promenade and cafés in the first half of the 20th century. Today, no visitor of Bratislava leaves the city without taking a photo with his statue. Together with the Napoleonic soldier and Čumil, Schöne Náci is one of the most photographed statues in the city.

Schöne Náci, whose real name was Ignác Lamár (1897-1967), was a bit odd. He had a difficult childhood, and his unfulfilled love left unhealed wounds on his heart and mental health.

He wanted to be, like his grandfather, a famous circus clown. In a way, his dream materialised, the streets of the city centre, local cafés and pastry shops serving as his big top. Schöne Náci walked the streets dressed up in an elegant evening dress and top hat, walking stick and a pack of his favourite desserts in his hand. He smiled at the people and greeted ladies reverently, saying “I kiss your hands” in Slovak, Hungarian and also German since Bratislava was trilingual at that time.

He spent the last years of his life forgotten in a tuberculosis treatment facility in the village of Lehnice, where he died. Only in September 2007 were his remains transported from the local cemetery to the historic Ondrejský cemetery in the Bratislava centre near the graves of several prominent personalities of Slovakia. In the cemetery, as well as in the neighbouring Medic Garden, you can enjoy the greenery and tranquillity hidden in the very centre of the capital.