The most well-known left foot in all of Croatia. In fact, surely the most famous foot in Croatia ...
Whose left foot? Where is it (other than at the end of his leg)?
What was this guy's main claim to fame?
Why is the big toe so shiny? Do you believe the story? Did you do what you are supposed to do?
Who is the author/sculptor?
If you have been to Split, you probably have seen this foot, and probably touched it - even if you are not superstitious.
And the background story? Read below.
Aha! So this is what it is .... The left foot of Grgur Ninski
Of course, this left foot is so shiny because everybody gives it a rub, hoping that means that they will return. So the story goes, so what do you have to lose!?
The foot belongs to a very large 8.5m statue, with a commanding presence, in Split.
This powerful statue is situated just outside of the Diocletian Palace, near the Golden Gate – the side of the palace farthest from the sea.
And it a statue of Grgur Ninski, or Gregory of Nin, who was Catholic Bishop of Nin in the early 900s, at the time of King Tomislav.
It seems that he was responsible for the introduction of the Croatian language into the mass, replacing Latin. That’s quite progressive: the English language was introduced into masses in Australia more than 1000 years later!
The author of the statue was the prolific and famous Ivan Mestrović.
The statue was first installed in the Peristil area inside the Palace in 1929, shifted by Italian occupying forces during the second world war, and then shifted again to its present position in 1954.
Mestrović created similar statures of Grgur Ninski (I am not sure if they are replicas) which are situated in Nin and Varaždin.
Such a powerful-looking man with the fingers of a pianist. I cannot possibly imagine how Mesrović could sculpt those fingers from a solid chunk of rock!
Proof that the story is true ... I have rubbed the big toe several times, and returned after each occasion (so far).
Click here to go to Aha! Croatian: A ROAD MAP