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Orlando’s column - Dubrovnik

By  Mar 20, 2016

Orlando’s column is situated in front of the St. Blaise’s Church and has always had during the history of Dubrovnik a multi-faceted role and symbolism. The column represents the character of a pale knight. The knight, according to legend, was the nephew of the Spanish King Charles, who died in 778 on his way back to Spain. It was believed that Orlando had supernatural powers and a naval victory over the Saracene pirate Spucento was attributed to Orlando and his special forces. Another legend about the origins of the column dates from the 15th century. The legend states that the column was installed at the time when Sigismund protected Dubrovnik. Sigismund was a famous Hungarian, Czech and later German king. During his life the king was famous for erecting Orlando columns all across the Brandeburg County.
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Orlando’s stone column served the city of Dubrovnik as a flag carrier, symbol of freedom and as a metaphor for trade. His forearm is 51.2 centimeters long and this was for centuries the standard Dubrovnik measurement for fabric. For many centuries Dubrovnik merchants stood in front of the column measuring and cutting fabric. Orlando used to hold his sword in the direction of the Ottoman Empire as a symbol of readiness to fight for the freedom and independence of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Today the column is turned to Sponza Palace with his back to the church of St. Blaise.

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Orlando's column in the heart of Dubrovnik