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OLD TOWN >> Orlando's Column
Orlando's column in Dubrovnik was made because thanks to a legend that is not true. It shows a medieval knight with a sword and shield. The myth written by chroniclers who wrote several centuries later says that the legendary knight Roland defeated Saracen pirates near Lokrum at the end of the 8th Century.
In his honour, and as a symbol of the freedom of the town, the monument was initially facing east. It was built by the Italian master Bonino di Jacopo from Milan in around 1417 and is the oldest preserved public sculpture in Dubrovnik. Before his column there was another older one, which was built in the late 14th century.
Orlando's Column took over the function of a column for the shameful exposure and public punishment of offender . Many have ended their lives in front of the public there, which warned people what would happen if they were disobedient. Particularly brutal were punishments for conspirators. Flagellation, mutilation and branding with red-hot objects in the face or forehead was carried out here. It also served as a place to put notices and highlight important news.
Dubrovnik people also had a practical use for Orlando's Column – the knights right hand is prescribed as a measure of length, and is named 'lakat', or elbow in English (51.2 cm). It is interesting that the Dubrovnik Orlando is one of four such monuments that are now located outside Germany .
Orlando's column crashed to the floor during a strong gust of wind in 1825. He was returned to the square only in 1878 and then turned to face north. But the problems didn't disappear. Since the Orlando's Column often flies the flag at high mast in punishing wind, cracks constantly appear. The last ones to emerge wbeing in 2007.
Not only does it oftenget damaged during natural disasters but also by people. People have been known to bend the sword and so the one that is now on the pole is not the original but a replica. There is always one replacement in reserve to be able to replace it the same day as vandals damage the monument .