About Croatia: Where/What/Who is that? #004
The protectress of Omiš
I've already told you approximately where this very beautiful sculpture is, but who is the subject? Why does she deserve a statue in her honour? Who was the sculptor?
And what is she looking at? Evo pogleda ....
Any idea? Check below ....
Aha! So this is who it is! ..... Mile Gojsalića
Where is this bronze life-sized statue?
First, some geography .... Our heroine was from the small village of Kostanje in the hills above Omiš at the mouth of the Cetina River.
The map on the left shows where Omiš is with respect to Split. The Cetina River runs through the magnificent Cetina Canyon (a popular destination for adventure-seeking tourists), and at Omiš runs into the Jadransko More (the Adriatic Sea).
On the right, we can see the village of Gata, which is quite close to Kostanje (not shown), and where the subject of this post stands. The zigzag road from Omiš to Gata indicates the steepness of the Mosor mountain range on which Gata (and Kostanje) is situated.
Most of the area in the map on the right is a region called Poljica. The statue of Mile Gojsalića near Gata is at a lookout (vidikovac) overlooking this region that she saved from Turkish occupation in 1530.
And who was Mile Gojsalića? How did she save Poljica?
According to an article in Wikipedia, Mile Gojsalića (formal name Mila) lived at the time when Ottoman armies were invading the Balkan peninsula. Ottoman commander Ahmed-pasha had concentrated a large army at a nearby camp, in preparation to conquer Poljica.
In order to infiltrate the Turkish camp, Mile Gojsalića offered herself to Ahmed-pasha. While the commander was sleeping, she used the opportunity to explode their cache of munitions, and killed numerous Turks, including the Ahmed-pasha himself.
Surprised and disoriented, the Turkish soldiers where then defeated by the people of Poljica.
Such noble sacrifice, to say nothing of what she achieved, deserves the adulation given to her over the 500 years that have since passed.
It is probable that over the intervening 500 years, the legend of Mile Gojsalića has become less definite. According to a personal blog (BBQboy and Spanky), fleeing from Turkish soldiers after committing her guerilla acts, she threw herself over the cliff overlooking the Cetina River mouth.
Other sources say that Gojsalića had been enslaved by Ahmed-pasha.
People think of her as still protecting Poljica after all these years. [Poljička Republika svoju neovisnost čuvala je još od 13. stoljeća.]
To this day, every year in Kostanje is a cultural event (Dan Mile Gojsalić) to celebrate and honour her deeds.
The famous author August Šenoa composed a poem dedicated to her. The entire poem can be found on a website of the news service Narod.HR (Click HERE). Following is an extract from that site. You might be able to relate it to the feats of Mile Gojsalića?
More recently, the Dalmatian composer Jakov Gotovac composed an opera to honour her (opera Mila Gojsalića). If you are interested, a YouTube video is available of its most famous aria, Oda Zemlji (Ode to the Land).
And the author of the sculpture?
If to this question you guessed Ivan Mestrović, there is a good chance that you would be correct. And indeed he is the sculptor. Do you know of any others of his works? They are all over the world.
Finally, here is a photo of the plaque at the base of the statue of Mile Gojsalića ...
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