One of Belgrade‘s most famous landmarks, the Pobednik (Victor) statue overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers since 1928, was taken down from its pedestal on Kalemegdan fortress to be restored for the first time, AFP reported on Thursday, October 10th.
Holding a dove in one hand and a sword in the other, the naked-looking man with square-shaped jaw and serious look depicts in details the complicated life in the Balkans years ago.
The well-structured statue was commissioned from sculptor Ivan Mestrovic to mark the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War in 1912-1913.
During the Second Balkan War, spoils left by the Ottoman Empire had intensified the conflict between Serbs and Bulgarians.
Following the end of World War I in 1918, the idea of the “Victor” statue made little sense in Serbia, so the statue was finally erected in Belgrade, in the city of Terazije, one of Belgrade's main avenues, according to AFP.
The nude sculpture had faced criticism over its looks, and it eventually was removed from downtown Belgrade to settle on a pedestal measuring 17 meters (56 feet) high atop Kalemegdan.
The statue suffered a great deal during the World War II, as experts who examined it earlier said there were a number of what are assumed to be bullet holes in it dating from World War II, a local media source reported.
According to the source, the statue was declared a part of the country’s protected cultural heritage in 1992, and the city authorities decided last year to have it properly restored.