Orlando’s Column Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Orlando Column
Dubrovnik Orlando Column

Public punishment and south wind

The open square in front of the church of St. Blasius features a statue of the armoured knight Orlando. Dubrovnik placed Orlando’s column as a symbol of the Republic’s freedom, a freedom that was maintained by the Hungarian / Croatian king Siegmund of Luxemburg (latter the King of Germany) under whose protective eye, Dubrovnik as the king’s vassal state, stood untouched from northern invasions. It was known that King Siegmund had a number of similar columns throughout his kingdom and as a sign that Dubrovnik is a part of the same free kingdom, the Republic erected Orlando’s column.

Orlando’s column served the city of Dubrovnik as a flag carrier, symbol of freedom and as a metaphor for trade. It also served as a place where citizens were once summoned to hear state decrees and to witness punishments. The knights right hand is prescribed as a measure of length, and is named ‘lakat’, or elbow in English (51.2 cm).

Orlando’s Column was 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.

Bura & Jugo – The winds of Dubrovnik

It might seem silly, but many people of Dubrovnik believe the wind can not only help determine if rain is on the horizon, but it can also affect mood, health, food production and may even motivate you to commit a crime. Specifically, the two winds to know are “bura” and “jugo”, which represent the northern and southern winds respectively.

Jugo is a moist wind, accompanied by dark clouds and rain-filled storms. People of Dubrovnik tend to be sun-loving people, they are not fond of jugo. It is said to cause depression, body aches, pains and grumpiness. In this unique part of the world, jugo is always an acceptable excuse for this melancholic behaviour.

In the old Republic of Dubrovnik, if criminals committed their crime during Jugo they would be pardoned even for murder. Additionally, no laws were passed while jugo was blowing as it was believed to tamper in ones judgment. The Dubrovnik people held that duing the southern winds blowing, a man can not bring a fair court to even himself, moreover about the others!

Bura comes from the north and can reach speeds of 220 km (136 miles) per hour, but has been clocked as high as 304km (189 miles) per hour. It’s a dry cool wind, which is why it can be freezing on a sunny cloudless day. If the sun is out and you’re freezing to death, that’s bura. It’s most common in winter, but can happen at any time of the year.