The building that houses Main Square Residence
You are located at Ban Jelačić Square, in an Art Nouveau building, a beauty more than a century old, with a touch of time past captured between its walls.
The building that houses Main Square Residence was designed by a well-known architect Vjekoslav Bastl and built as early as 1905. It was commissioned by dr. Eugen Rado, which is why it is also known as the Kuća Rado (Rado House). The ceiling stuccos and tiled stoves bear witness even today to the period when Rado House was built.
Since doctor Rado was a dentist, the roof of the building is decorated with sculptures of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, and his daughter Hygieia, the goddess of health. Rado House is also well ‘guarded’. The roof, along with the sculptures of Greek gods, is adorned with stone dragon protectors, according to some, or with wolf-like beasts with prominent fangs, according to others, in order to indicate the occupation of the owner.
Take a look at other buildings at Ban Jelačić Square because all of them have a tale to tell, and bear in mind that our neighbouring building is decorated with a relief by the world famous artist Ivan Meštrović.
Ban Jelačić Square – Main Zagreb Square
You are at the heart of the city centre, amidst the action, at Ban Jelačić Square, the main square of the capital of Croatia. People of Zagreb call it simply the Square – that is how important it is to us. Several beautiful squares in the city centre also have nicknames, but only one of them is – the Square.
You have exited Main Square Residence, almost underneath the tail of the equestrian statue of Viceroy Josip Jelačić after whom the square was named. You are now at one of the most frequent meeting places for people of Zagreb, popularly called ‘under the tail’. The second most favourite meeting place is just a bit further, ‘under the clock’. The Square was built on the site of a former open market, at the foot of two Medieval settlements – the civil Gradec (today Gornji grad) and the Church-owned Kaptol, out of which contemporary Zagreb grew.
Josip Jelačić, a Croatian national hero and a favourite viceroy who abolished serfdom, got his monument on the Square in 1866 (as the first large public sculpture in Zagreb), only to be removed in 1947 and returned in 1990. The Square often hosts various events and concerts, serves as a welcoming place for athletes after great triumphs, and, as of recently, as a place of New Year celebrations with festivities and big concerts.
If you turn left from Main Square Residence, you will reach Manduševac fountain, linked to a legend about two Zagreb names. Once upon a time, a viceroy (or a soldier in less dreamy versions) asked a beautiful maiden to grab some water for him from the spring. From that ‘zagrabi’ (to grab, to catch) Zagreb got its name. Whether the maiden was called Manduša, or the soldier said ‘Mando, dušo’ (‘Mando, darling’), is beside the point, the fountain is called Manduševac and, also according to a legend – it faithfully grants wishes.
So, think carefully what to wish for, toss your coin in Manduševac, and believe your wish will come true!
And be sure to return to Zagreb, regardless of the coin.
Photo: Statue of Ban Jelačić with Rado House in the background