‘The Fat Policeman’ – Budapest, Hungary - Atlas Obscura

‘The Fat Policeman’

Also known as Uncle Karl, the beloved bronze copper keeps a watchful eye on St. Stephen’s Basilica while people rub his lucky belly. 


St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the most popular attractions in the Hungarian capital, and Uncle Karl has kept a watchful eye on it since 1987.

Standing in the market square, the “Fat Policeman” statue was created by Finnish sculptor Kaarlo Mikkonen (1920-2001) and has since become a beloved icon of the city. Nicknamed Uncle Karl, the affable bronze copper is clad in a circa-mid-20th-century uniform, complete with a dated helmet and a dapper mustachio.

Uncle Karl is notable for his belly, which has a gloriously golden patina—a clear sign that it has been rubbed by many. Local superstition has it that rubbing his belly grants you good luck and immunity against weight gain so that one can enjoy as much Hungarian food as they like.

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July 31, 2023

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