Nestled in the shadow of Bratislava Castle, a stroll down the cobblestoned street of Kapitulská may feel like a trip straight into medieval Slovakia, secluded from the tourist hubbub and the 21st-century developments. So quiet, no wonder the locals have nicknamed it “ghost alley.”
At one corner, visitors might come across a sand-colored cornerstone with a rustic sculpture of lizards—or salamanders, perhaps? Though unassuming, it’s quite noticeable, remarkable even. What significance does it hold? It certainly looks quite old, Renaissance, or even medieval in style; but there’s no descriptive plaque or the like on its side, leaving you puzzled and curious.
Many locals, at least those aware of this sculpture, have also had the same question without getting an answer. Their guesses are as good as yours, some believing it to be 14th-century while some attribute it to the era of Maria Theresa.
The truth is, however, it’s nothing historic at all. The okopník, as it is called in Slovak architecture, was only installed here in the 1980s when the street underwent a major renovation. It was removed around the year 2000 due to some damage and put in storage for nearly two decades, before marking a comeback in 2019, fully restored but as obscure as ever.