If you visit Zagreb, it is almost inevitable that you will fond yourself sooner or later in Ban Jelacic square. It seems to me to be the centre of the whole city.
It is just below the Market area, close to the Old Town and at one end of the Ilica shopping street. As if this didn't make it central enough, most of the trams in the town pass through here (or so it seems).
It is a very large square, predominantly pedestrianised, and very much in the Eastern European style. There are numerous shops and cafes dotted around, and it seems to be a central meeting point, especially at night.
The whole square is dominated by a statue of a man on a horse. He is, you've guessed it, Ban Jelacic. So who was he then? Well, Ban Josip Jelacic is something of a national hero in Croatia. He was born in 1801 and by 1848 was the Ban (or Baron) of Croatia. He was a military man, being a noted general, and amongst other things he abolished serfdom in Croatia, invaded Hungary and quelled a rebellion in Vienna.
The statue itself has had a fairly colourful life. Initially erected in 1866, it was removed by the new Communist government in 1947, and only survived by being hidden in a cellar! With the fall of Communism, the statue was re-instated in 1990.
There are two sculptures showing St. George at the peak of his fight with the Dragon in Zagreb [as far as I know]: one is situated in Radiceva street, right in front of the Stone Doors at the entrance to the Upper town [made by the German sculptor Arthur Kompatscher] & the other one [see photo] on the west side of the Croatian National Theater [HNK].
This sculpture called St. George Killing The Dragon was bought from Anton Dominik Fernkorn, a sculptor from Vienna, by the first Croatian cardinal Juraj Haulik [the interesting thing is that Juraj is the Croatian version of George] & was first situated behind the entrance into the Maksimir park in 1867. After 17 years it was given as a gift to the City & placed on Strossmayer square, where it stayed for another 23 years. It was made out of galvanized tin, but in 1907 it was molten in copper & placed on the Maršal Tito square, where it still stands. The interesting thing about this particular sculpture is that the color of copper gradually changed under the influence of weather, so now it's light green now! Nobody really knows what happened to it, but everyone knows this George is green...
Fernkorn has a couple of more sculptures around Zagreb, the most important being the sculpture of our so-called Banus Jelačić [see other photo], situated on the same-named square, the 12-meter-high statue of the Mother of Christ in front of the cathedral & many more...
Josip Jelacic was a colonel in the Hapsburg army who was elevated to the position of Ban of Croatia after he leant his support to the Viennese in crushing the Hungarian Revolution in 1848. He was an ardent Croatian nationalist and support the Viennese in the hope that this would win the Croatian nation greater autonomy, which it did for a short period, although the gains were switfly eroded by the Viennese. The statue was erected in 1866 and designed by Viennese sculptor Fernkorn. In 1945, when the Communists took control, the statue was boarded up (overt nationalist was taboo in Yugoslavia) and then dismantle it in 1947. The pieces were kept in the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1990 the statue was restored to its original position, albeit with the sabre pointing south, towards the Balkans, rather than to the east, the direction of Hungary.
The Croatian king, Tomislav on his horse. This one location in front of the central railway station, it will be almost the first thing you see when arriving to this city, if you happen to come by train, I came by plane.
Every tourist who passes this statue probably takes the same photo as I did. This is August Senou, a famous Croatian writer and poet, and he is depicted leaning against an advertisement pillar and looking very relaxed. The statue was designed by Maleja Ujeevic-Galetovic.
The centre of Preradovicev trg is the statue dedicated to Petar Preradovic. Preradovic was actually a Croatian Serb from the east of the country who was a general in the Austro-Hungarian army during the latter half of the 19th Century. He is better known as a romantic poet whose works helped to develop the modern Croatian literary language. Unfortunately, they aren't as widely read as they once were.
The wheel of live is a beautiful piece of work by croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic who made more importants works in Zagreb i.e the rounded building of the Victims of fascism square or the statue of Bishop Strossmayer. It is seated in front of the Croatian National Theatre, and the Law Faculty of the University. It is an important meeting point in Zagreb.
Giant statue outside the train station of King Tomislav on his horse. Can't be arsed to copy the history bit out of Lonely Planet but i think he was a 13th Century king.
Why are they always riding horses in these statues ? If i became King would they put up a statue of me driving my Renault Clio?
Gradec is a part of the Zagreb, Croatia nucleus and it's situated on the Upper Town hill.
Gradec was given a royal charter by King Bela IV in 1242. The royal charter, also called the Golden Bull, was a very important document by which Gradec was declared and proclaimed "a free royal city on Gradec, the hill of Zagreb". This act made Gradec a feudal holding responsible directly to the king. The citizens were given rights of different kinds; among other things they were entitled to elect their own "City Judge" (the mayor) and to manage their own affairs.
There were four main gates leading to the town: the Mesnicka Gate in the west, the new, later Opaticka Gate in the north, Dverce in the south and the Stone Gate in the east. The Stone Gate is the only one preserved until the present day.
At the center of the central square of Zagreb currently resides the statue of Ban Josip Jelacic who was a nineteenth-century governor of Croatia (Ban means Governor). Erected in 1866 it was later removed in 1946 for political reasons but returned to its honored place again in 1990. With all the traveling that it has done it is probably a good thing that Ban Jelacic is depicted riding on a horse!
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