Eternal inhabitants of the city
Eternal inhabitants of the city
8 sculptures in the center of Osijek
Did you know that the people of Osijek love their city sculptures endlessly? Without them, certain squares, streets and public spaces would be unthinkable to many. When sightseeing the city, some of these numerous frozen inhabitants will surely catch your eye. If you are interested in who they are or what they symbolize, use this guide who will take you through the city center and introduce you to our local celebrities. You don’t have to hesitate about taking photos or touching because our motionless observers have long been accustomed to attention or touch, but also the critical eye of curious bodybuilders.
Walking time: 30 minutes
A writer in an eternal walk
Osijek's Šetač (Walker) is the first and one of the most famous sculptures in Croatia, and shares the author with the Zagreb statues of Marija Jurić Zagorka and kumica - the academic sculptor Stjepan Gračan. But who does this bronze man of determined attitude represent? The Walker is a prolific Croatian writer August Cesarec, shown here walking towards the southern outlines of the city with a book in his hand. In cruel reality, Cesarec was captured and shot for his political activism, but today he's immortalized, and over the years the famous Walker has become an unquestionable symbol of the city that will accompany you on your own walk from the nearby pedestrian traffic lights. Near the Walker is a monument to Dr. Franjo Tuđman, and in a passage to Kapucinska Street you will notice an intriguing sculpture of Osijek's musical genius Franjo Krežma.
They called him the new Mozart, the next Paganini. Journalists all over Europe wrote about his performances. The greatest critics of the time admired his performances. Violinist Franjo Krežma, a musician of the second half of the 19th century, was an incomprehensible genius, a virtuoso who had the doors of all concert halls in the world open before him. Illness thwarted the ambitions of this young musician and he left us at only 19 years old. Today, his character and work are forgotten in his native country, but not in his native Osijek. This sculpture was brought to life in bronze by Vanja Radauš, an impressive Slavonian artist of unique style.
The man who did not want a monument
Osijek's main square has changed its name many times, and today it is officially Dr. Ante Starčević Square. On it, appropriately, stands Starčević himself, with his impressive beard and firm posture. The famous Croatian politician of the 19th century was among the few who back in the day tirelessly advocated the idea of an independent Croatia. Because of that, today he's shown on the 1000 kn banknote, which cerainly makes him one of the few politicians that bring hones smiles on people's faces. It is interesting that his testamentary wish was for his character not to be decorated with sculptures, monuments and similar grandiose presentations. A humble man, and a forgetful people, it seems! The talented hands of the academic sculptor Mira Vuca are responsible for Osijek's impressive depiction of Dr. Starčević.
A thousand touches and hugs - Group of citizens
It does not depict any famous artist, Christian martyr, not even a war hero or heroine. For the people of Osijek, the sculpture called the Group of Citizens represents a simple idea - togetherness. No other sculpture in the city counts so many children's hugs and joyful play, so much interaction with its residents and visitors, and so many photos - both because of its location on the main square of Osijek, and because of its specific appearance. Over the years, this unique sculpture has been “gilded“ by numerous touches of citizens who will forever remain grateful to its author, Croatian sculptor and painter Branko Ružić.
And who remembers the elephant?
Many guests don't catch the elephant sculpture located on the corner of Ribarska and Strossmayer streets, but here everyone will be happy to pass on to you the legend of the Osijek elephant. Once upon a time, a circus parade, which had an elephant, was passing through the city. The elephant was old and tired, he couldn't take it anymore, and he collapsed dead on this corner. As it was too big to carry, and there was a butcher shop on the corner, the elephant's body was carried in pieces. In memory of this shocking event for the city, the people of Osijek erected a monument to the poor elephant, which still stands on its corner, and you may hear someone say "let's meet by the elephant".
The Spaniard with the most beautiful view
New York, Chicago, Amsterdam… It is known that these world metropolises have their Picasso. As Osijek was not on this list, one artist went to work. It is not, of course, some kind of plagiarism, but a sculpture depicting the Spaniard himself. The monument was erected in 1982 and is the work of sculptor Ivan Sabolić. Our bronze Pablo sits on the romantic Promenade, reclining in an imaginary armchair, and his lap and calm hand often serve the little ones for climbing and play.
An unusual blend of natural beauty
Indian mythology, secession, Masonic rites, Egyptian guardians. Is there a place in the city that hides all that, and even more? There is, if you know where to look. Stop at Sakuntala Park in the heart of the city on whose flowery hill is a sculpture of the Indian heroine Sakuntala. Her story teaches us about love, patience and coexistence with nature. With a tilted pitcher in hand, Sakuntala has been thoughtfully watering its park for more than a hundred years. Tourist guides will tell you the secrets of the former nearby Masonic lodge "Budnost" of the Urania cinema and the importance of the Art Nouveau style in Osijek. You will probably notice the Egyptian guards first, and these are, of course, the magnificent sphinxes that have been guarding the entrance to the park since the late 19th century.
Safe are our mother's hand
Oscar Nemon was a world-famous sculptor who met many protagonists of the past during his interesting life, such as the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose statue he made, and who reciprocated in the same way, or the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud. He also sculptured a number of other dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, D. D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman. Today, the park in the center of his native Osijek bears the name of this genius of Jewish origin, and in the park there is his sculpture of a mother and child, which he created in memory of the Jews killed in the Second World War. Just as one walker is not enough for them, the people of Osijek can also boast of another sculpture of a mother and child, which is hidden in King Držislav Park.
Although nothing lasts forever, these sculptures have secured their eternity by imprinting themselves in the hearts of the inhabitants. In addition to a few that we have listed here, there are many other artistic achievements (Art Nouveau well, busts of deserving writers and scientists) that you will see in the center of Osijek, and continue your research in other neighborhoods. Do not miss, for example, in Tvrđa to photograph Kužni pil with a 200 kn banknote or at the intersection of Vukovarska and Trpimirova streets to see the monument Fićo gazi tank. Therefore, travel under your feet and discover this special (sculpture) tour, but also all the other interesting symbols of Osijek that will tell you stories about great people, little secrets and intriguing metaphors.