Orlando’s Column – the column

Written by on January 23, 2013 in Heritage - No comments
Orlando's column
Learn and understand the history and much more through the eyes of Orlando. Who better to ask than Orlando? Through the centuries he has seen many comings and goings standing as he does in front of the St. Blaise Church.
Here’s what he knows about himself, the Orlando Column  
The tourist season is in a full swing in our town; spring is in the air, birds are singing, the streets are packed with our guests. Oh, it’s so nice to see you all again after months spent in the cold and almost alone here on the most beautiful street in the world, the Stradun. I’m probably the first thing you’ll notice when you step your foot on the Stradun which is located in the Old City of Dubrovnik. Yes, that’s me, the wonderful column of the legendary medieval knight Rolando placed in the main square. But Dubrovnikers call me Orlando (it is the Italian form of the French name Rolando).
orlando's column

Orlando’s Column

Someone has to hold the flag

Why am I here you might ask? Well, I represent the independence of the city of Dubrovnik. A long time ago in 1419 I was erected as a substitute for ‘carrus’ old stone column of shame and public punishment. Later I got another function, holding the state flag of St. Blaise, our beloved patron saint of the city. Through the centuries Dubrovnik has had many enemies and tried to maintain its freedom and independence so setting up of Orlando’s column also meant standing out the full independence of the Republic of Dubrovnik regarding the Venetians, the biggest enemies the city has ever had. The column itself, or should I say my column, is exactly 3.37 meters high. Its top is flat and has iron railings on three of its sides. This spot was used for announcing very important decisions made by the city government. You’d be surprised what I’ve heard through the centuries, if only I could move my hand I’d be able to write a book. Did you know that the standard unit of measurement for length in the Republic of Dubrovnik, the so called “ell,” this was derived from the distance between my fingertips and the elbow of my right arm? One ”ell” is exactly 51.2cm, how long’s your “ell?”
But hey, enough about me. I invite you to come and visit me in our ”pearl of the Adriatic” or ”paradise on Earth” as George Bernard Shaw called Dubrovnik. Come and sit on my steps to take a rest or to take a photograph and who knows, I might have another interesting story just for you soon…

Orlando…

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