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The tradition of placing this medieval symbol of protection is found more often in central Europe. However, Dubrovnik also has a “Roland”, called Orlando in the local languages. Though there are Rolands in many other cities, there is a legend that a knight called Orlando once defended the city against Arab pirates in the 8th century. It is also said that the standard ell for Dubrovnik (a medieval length measurement unit) is the length of Orlando's right arm from elbow to middle finger tip.
The statue was carved in 1418. The column often carriers the flag of the Republic of Ragusa for special ceremonies. Orlando once had its sword pointed to the Ottoman Empire, now he has his faced turned to Sponza Palace.
Orlando's column was Built in 1418, then it was the focal point of the city and Government ordinances and punishment carried out. A flag flies above the statue with the 'Libertas' motto.
The medieval cult of Orlando (Roland) started here in the 12th century based upon the epic poem 'Song of Roland'
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St. Blaise's Church and Orlando Column
St. Blasius' church is one of the loveliest of old Dubrovnik. The first, Romanesque building was destroyed in the earthquake; the present building dates from the beginning of the 18th century . and
Orlando Column (15th century) is symbol of Dubrovnik's independence and freedom.
Orlando’s Column sits proudly in front of St. Blaise’s Church and is the central meeting point for visitors and Old Town locals alike. Many visitors don’t realise the historical significance and cultural importance of this monument which is the over-riding symbol of Dubrovnik’s past independence and cultural identity.
Orlando’s column was erected in 1418 as a monument to independent Dubrovnik (then Ragusa) which had been part of the Venetian Empire until 972. Again Ragusa’s liberty was challenged, this time by Napoleon’s forces in 1806 and later by the Austro-Hungarians. Ragusa’s power never fully recovered from these invasions, but the city’s independent nature still lives strong in the hearts of its inhabitants, who live under a city motto ‘Libertas’ which echoes the past autonomy, independence and identity of the Ragusa Republic. Although now firmly part of Croatia, Dubrovnik is quick to display its inherent sense of uniqueness and liberty.
In the past, the column served a practical and administrative role in the city centre, as it was from here that announcements and proclamations were made, public notices displayed and punishments and admonishments dealt out to offenders.
Orlando, although not such an important figure from Dubrovnik’s past as one might first believe, is the armoured figure depicted in the statue set into the column. Orlando, also known as Roland - the French equivalent of Orlando, was a famous knight, reknowned for his bravery and courage in battle and said to be related to Charlemange. Although he never visited Ragusa, the locals used the column as a symbol for their own courage, bravery and will to fight for liberty.
If you ask me, it’s a bit ironic that the main symbol for Ragusa’s independence and freedom is a French Knight!
The Orlando Column is located in front of the Bell Tower. It is a stone column with a flagpole and has a sculpture of Medieval knight Orlando. It was built in 1418 and up until Napoleon conquered Dubrovnik, a white flag with the insignia of St. Vlaho (St. Blasius, St. Blaise) flew from the column.
I don't have a good picture of it but the picture shows the general location.
Orlando's Column (15th century) is certainly the most significant symbol of Dubrovnik's independence and freedom. The hoisting of the white flag bearing the insignia of St. Blasius on the column in 1419 marked the beginning of the golden period of Ragusan history. Its lowering in 1808, when Napoleon's army marched into the city, was the end of an entire era. Since 1990 Orlando's Column has been flying a white flag which bears one word known and understood by everyone, 'libertas'!
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