Misguided monuments: Why were these ever erected?

That these monuments were ever given planning permission just shows the world has no sense

The Statue of Liberty. Nelson’s Column. Christ the Redeemer. That mad Eiffel Tower thingy in Tokyo. The Brandenburg Gate. The actual Eiffel Tower. The world is full of magnificent statues and commemorative monuments that are so iconic, many people would be able to identify them by silhouette alone.

But what about the rest? The follies, the mistakes, the misguided attempts at doing something different – only for people to stare and titter in bemusement? Well, now is the time to celebrate them. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is a list of the planet’s greatest examples of misguided monuments.

The Beatles – Almaty, Kazakhstan

The Beatles statue in Almaty makes them look like androids – Photoprofi30 / Shutterstock monuments
The Beatles statue in Almaty makes them look like androids – Photoprofi30 / Shutterstock

There are many statues commemorating the Fab Four in unlikely places (Ulaanbaatar, Trinidad in Cuba), but I’ve chosen this one purely because the boys look more like stiff, slightly sinister androids than the loveable moptops they were supposed to be in this phase of their career. Also, Paul looks like Paul, but why they’ve replaced George on the right with cycling chap Bradley Wiggins is anyone’s guess.

Carhenge – Nebraska, USA

Carhenge in the United States is mildly interesting – Edwin Verin / Shutterstock monuments
Carhenge in the United States is mildly interesting – Edwin Verin / Shutterstock

Now, you see, this is genuinely mildly impressive. Out in Nebraska, one Jim Reinders conceived Carhenge as a tribute to his father. Reinders used to live in England and was therefore afforded the chance to study the actual Stonehenge – he wanted his version to be as true as possible to the original. Only, you know, with cars.

Various dicks – Brno, Czech Republic

This is meant to represent a clock – Anrephoto / Shutterstock monuments
This is meant to represent a clock – Anrephoto / Shutterstock

No-one is entirely sure why Brno (Kiwi.com’s home, fact fans!) seems to have a love affair with accidental penises, but have one it does. The astronomical clock on the main square took three years to complete (why?!) and cost 445,000 euros (how?!). It was unveiled to gasps of confusion and bewilderment but the “cock clock” is now ironically loved by the city. Add to this the statue of Mozart with his tackle out and the giant horse which from a certain angle looks like a massive cock and balls, and you have a hat-trick of re-dick-ulousness.

Bruce Lee – Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bruce Lee is representative of an earlier, more peaceful time – 2Ban / Shutterstock monuments
Bruce Lee is representative of an earlier, more peaceful time – 2Ban / Shutterstock

In the 1980s, martial arts films on pirated video cassettes were all the rage among the teenagers of what was then Yugoslavia. In 2005, the city of Mostar decided to recall this period of relative innocence before the horrors of the Balkan wars by unveiling a golden statue of Bruce Lee, because why the hell not?

Columbo – Budapest, Hungary

"There's just one more thing" – Diego Fiore / Shutterstock monuments
“There’s just one more thing” – Diego Fiore / Shutterstock

Uh, pardon me, ma’am. This was the statue that actually inspired this list because of its utter redundancy – a likeness of Peter Falk playing the American detective Columbo. It was erected in 2014 at a cost of around 60,000 euros.

The reason?

Well, it may have been placed in the middle of a particularly odd bout of electioneering. Someone had an election and may have thought this was the sure-fire way to win.

Or, it was that Falk apparently had Hungarian heritage and so the statue was placed on Falk Miksa utca (Hungarian naming convention being to put the surname first).

Was Peter related to Miksa? No. Is there literally any connection other than them sharing a surname? No. Superb.

Anything David Černý has managed to get his hands on – Prague, Czech Republic

The Piss Sculpture by David Černý – ppl / Shutterstock monuments
The Piss Sculpture by David Černý – ppl / Shutterstock

Prague is dotted with examples of the work of controversial sculptor David Černý, the most visible being his weird babies clambering up and down the TV tower in Žižkov. St. Václav, the patron saint of the country sits astride a dead horse outside Lucerna, two men continuously piss into a pool shaped like the Czech Republic and Sigmund Freud hangs by one hand, high in the air, from a pole protruding from a building. He’s also responsible for METALmorphosis, a huge stainless steel head at the Technology Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Frank Zappa – Vilnius, Lithuania

Zappa was a hero in the communist states of eastern Europe – Taigi / Shutterstock monuments
Zappa was a hero in the communist states of eastern Europe – Taigi / Shutterstock

A cult figure throughout much of Eastern Europe during the Communist era, Zappa’s statue was initially conceived as a test of Lithuania’s new-found freedom when it was erected in 1995. Photographer and president of the Lithuanian Frank Zappa fan club Saulius Paukstys realised there were hundreds of monuments to other poets and writers, so why not this one? Would it be taken down? No! Victory for the anti-establishment! And there his head remains, on top of its concrete pole in the creative Uzupis area of the city, a reminder that sometimes, no matter how absurd, art can still represent a victory.