About Croatia: Where/What/Who is that? #001
A girl and a bird
So well known ....... but she is not in Zagreb, nor in Dalmacija
Where is this moving work of art? What's the story?
When you are ready to know more about this gorgeous sculpture, where it is, and some of its history, see below.
Aha! So this is who it is ...... The maiden with the seagull
This sculpture, referred to as “the maiden with the seagull” is the iconic symbol of Opatija, Istra, on the coast in north-west Croatia – and one of the most enchanting places on our Earth.
Can you find Opatija, on the east side of the Istrian peninsula (west of Rijeka), and in the corner of Kvarner Gulf?
I suppose that the name Kvarner has the same derivation as the word corner?
In Croatia, the name of this peninsula is Istra.[So what right does the rest of the world have to refer to it as Istria?]
The maiden with the seagull
This stone sculpture stands on the end of a promontory, jutting out to sea (as promontories do!) near a boardwalk running along the Opatija coastline.
The maiden has a beautiful and elegant posture, and in this location, with a seemingly infinite ocean stretching out into the beyond, is sure to stir emotions and curiosity.
Created by the sculptor Zvonko Car, the statue was erected in 1956.
But she was preceded by a fascinating history. It seems that the maiden replaced another statue of a woman, called “Madonna del Mare” that was erected soon after 1891 when Count Arthur Kesselstadt disappeared at sea during storms near here. The madonna was put in place to look over his soul.
But that statue was damaged by harsh storms, and replaced by the maiden with the seagull many years later. The madonna statue is now in a nearby museum.
You can read more at http://www.visitopatija.net/en/attractions/maiden-seagull
Opatija is referred to at the pearl of the Adriatic. Wikipedia has a rather technical description at
If you go there, you will recognise a grandeur in the stately buildings overlooking the sea –although perhaps you will recognise that once upon a time they were more grand than they are now.
Opatija is in the heart of a coastal region called the Riviera, and was once a favourite destination for European royalty, as well as for scholars, artists, and writers. You will see paintings and signs to remind you of people who used to be regular visitors.
You will get a taste of the grandeur, the majesty, the beauty, and the serenity of Opatija in this video:
I recall that James Joyce spent a long time there. [He would have needed a long time if that is where he wrote Ulysses. I commenced reading it in 1985, and am up to page 11 - of course, because I so much enjoy instead to learn Croatian with Mateja at SpeakCro]
Remisens Hotel Kvarner
Staying at this wonderful hotel, in a location selected by the gods, I imagined that I was Count von Somebody, on vacation from my castle in Bavaria. I wallowed in the luxury!
To be honest, I think that I was simply obsessed with the pleasure of breakfast at dawn, or dinner at sunset, on the sweeping terrace overlooking the magical Jadransko More (Adriatic Sea).
[I don’t usually stay in this level of hotel, and the people at Hotel Kvarner do not know that I exist. So, this is not a sponsored advertisement or review - just a recollection.]
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