If you spend any time in Zagreb, you’ll certainly find yourself on the city’s main square at one point or another. Trg bana Josipa Jelacica, as it’s officially called, was named after Ban Josip Jelacic, the chief government official presiding over what is now modern-day Croatia during Hapsburg rule. Though on paper he worked for the throne, Jelacic actually supported Croatian independence, so he’s largely regarded as a national hero in Croatia.
That’s why a huge, regal equestrian statue of him dominates the main square. Today, the statue mainly serves as a popular meeting point, but it’s worth noting that for years, the statue was something of a controversy. It originally pointed north, with his sword pointing toward Hungary – allegedly a symbolic gesture of commemorating his invasion of Hungary in 1848. Then, in 1947 the Communist regime removed the statue since it had become a symbol of Croatian nationalism. It wasn’t until after the fall of Yugoslavia in 1990 that the statue was returned to the square, this time facing south.