The Russian city of Tomsk is home to the smallest public monument in the world —a tiny bronze frog, sitting on top of a smooth rock. The sculpture is just 44 millimeters tall. The curious attraction, titled “the monument to the frog-traveler”, was installed in 2013 near the front entrance of a hotel. It’s creator, Oleg Kislitsky, wanted to create a monument dedicated to travelers and decided that the frog-traveler would be a fitting representation to his idea.
The story of the frog traveler —the one who goes flying with the storks hanging from a twig by his teeth, but couldn’t keep his mouth shut when people on the ground, seeing the unusual spectacle, began praising the storks instead, eventually leading to his death— is well known in Russia, having been penned by the famous Russian author Vsevolod Garshin.
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Before the frog sculpture was unveiled, the honor for the smallest monument in the world belonged to another Russian city, St. Petersburg. It’s a 11 centimeter tall bronze statue of a bird, known to locals as Chizhik-Pyzhik —based on a Russian folk song, perched on a ledge in the embankment of the Fontanka River. Dwarfed by the grand statues all around St. Petersburg, the tiny bird often goes undeservedly unnoticed by tourists.
Local tradition suggests that anyone who can toss a coin so that it lands on the ledge without falling into the water is on for some good luck. Ironically, the statue itself has not been so fortunate, and has been stolen at least three times.
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Outside of Russia, perhaps the smallest statue is the 15 centimeter tall Järnpojke, or the Iron Boy, located in the backyard of a Finnish church in Stockholm, Sweden.
The sculpture of a small boy wrapping his arms around his knees was created Swedish artist Liss Eriksson in 1967, and is actually named "Little boy who looks at the moon", but people just call it Järnpojke. The iron boy gets all kinds of witty gifts throughout the year. Sometimes he is seen wearing a cap or a scarf. Visitors also leave coins, fruits and sushi on the stone bench on which he sits.
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Another tiny monument, the smallest in London, is that of two mice fighting over a piece of cheese. It is located high up on the cornice against the side of a building on the corner of Philpot Lane at Eastcheap.
The memorial dates back to the statue’s construction in 1862. The story goes that two construction workers had an argument when one accused another of stealing his lunch, leading to a scuffle atop the scaffolding, and a tragic fall to death. Later, mice were discovered to have been the culprits. The remaining workmen is then said to have left this diminutive sculpture on the building, in their honor.
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