Budapest, Hungary: On our way to the famous Hospital in the Rock on the side of Castle Hill, we came across this statue with an unusual twist. It’s on Szentharomsag utca, next to Ruszwurm café (supposedly the oldest in Budapest), just down from the Matthias Church and the Plague Column on Castle Hill.
A large statue of a famous Hungarian hussar mounted on his horse is in a small square with pretty flower beds. At first glance nothing seems unusual, but on closer inspection we see that the beautifully-sculpted animal’s “family jewels” are bright gold, polished by generations of students who gave them a rub for luck. Who knows why they picked that part!
The military man on the horse is the popular Andras Hadik (1710-90), who rose through the ranks to become a hussar general. Later he was chairman of the Vienna Court Military Council, the highest military rank within Austria-Hungary. He was the only Hungarian to succeed so well under the Hapsburgs, and was apparently a favorite of Maria Theresa.
The statue is by Gyorgy Vastagh (1936).
None of our group was quite brave enough to get in and rub this statue though!
Split, Croatia: Just outside the old Roman city walls through the Golden Gate is a huge statue of a male figure. Sculptor Ivan Mestrovic sculpted this of Bishop Gregory of Nin, a 10th century Croatian priest who tried to convince the Vatican to allow sermons during Mass to be said in Croatian rather than Latin. People rub his toe for good luck—but we’re told that only non-material wishes are given serious attention! We rubbed his toe in the hope of returning here. My foot is smaller than his big toe, showing how huge this piece is.