Books Global Conference in Prague, 2023 Reporter's Notebook Top Travel

Searching for Franz Kafka in Prague

Prague's famous spinning Kafka head. (Anjola Fashawe/YJI)

PRAGUE – As the hometown of author Franz Kafka, Prague has several places to honor him.

Viktorie Goldmannová/YJI Click on the image to see more ‘Postcards from Prague.’

Before coming to the Youth Journalism International Global Conference in Prauge, I had a chance to read one of Kafka’s works, “The Metamorphosis,” and I really liked it.

So having a chance to see where he lived was an opportunity I didnt want to miss.

On our first day in the center of Prague, we went to the Golden Lane on the grounds of Prague Castle and saw the house Kafka lived in for a year.

He wrote the story “A Country Doctor” in that house and as a reader, I had to buy that book from there.

A window display in the little shop that used to be Franz Kafka’s house on Golden Lane. (Naz Mergen/YJI)

On the same day we went to see the famous Kafka head, which spins for 15 minutes every hour. We sat down and got some food to eat while we were waiting for the show to start. 

The Kafka spinning head was a bit weird because it has nothing to do with him being an author. Even though it was a nice thing to see, it wasn’t meaningful. 

It felt like it was just there to attract tourists and I feel like it is not respectful for him since he is a very famous author and he is also the most known author from here. 

Anne van Mill/YJI

On our next day we were walking down the street and we saw a little memorial to him on the wall. It was a square named after him with a little sculpture of his head and I thought it felt more genuine than the big spinning head. 

Above, memorials to Kafka on a building in Prague and at right, the Kakfa Museum. (Naz Mergen/YJI)

We also saw a museum dedicated to him but didn’t have a chance to get in there.

But it was very nice to see that there were a lot of representations of him, both big and little, in his hometown.

Naz Mergen is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Türkiye. She wrote this commentary and contributed most of the photos.

Senior Reporter Anjola Fashawe of the United Kingdom contributed the cover photo.

Senior Photographer Anne van Mill of the Netherlands contributed the video.

Outside Franz Kafka’s house on Golden Lane, YJI conference attendees. Back row, from left: Anjola Fashawe, Mary Majerus-Collins, Arooj Khalid, Lyat Melese, Norah Springborn, Holly Hostettler-Davies, Viktorie Goldmannová, Ana Fadul, Shaina Zurlin, Steve Collins. Front row, from left: Owen Ferguson, Erin Timur, Naz Mergen, Bilge Güven, Anne van Mill and Jackie Majerus. (YJI photo)

Read more from YJI’s ‘Postcards from Prague’ series about the 2023 Global Conference.

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