Spomenik Sibinjanin Janku – Belgrade, Serbia - Atlas Obscura

Spomenik Sibinjanin Janku

This statue of a 15th-century Hungarian military and political figure has become known for its resemblance to a particular cartoon knight. 

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In July 2019, a monument of Hunyadi János was given to Zemun as a gift from the Hungarian government. The sculpture was given to commemorate the anniversary of the Siege of Belgrade in 1456, in which the  Kingdom of Hungary and Serbian Despotate held off the Ottoman Empire with help from crusader peasants and local gentry.

Hunyadi János, known in Serbian as Sibinjanin Janko, was a leading Hungarian politician and military figure in the 15th century. He died of plague in Zemun in 1456 during the Siege of Belgrade and was buried in the Cathedral of Alba Iulia, Romania. The siege ended with a Hungarian victory, forcing the Ottomans to withdraw to Constantinople. 

The creator of the monument was Hungarian sculptor Madarasi István. But after the grand opening, the moment was locally renamed to Ser Žile, since it looks like Sir Giles animated character from the 1941 Disney cartoon The Reluctant Dragon. Today Ser Žile is more of a local attraction than something foreign tourists usually visit. Some also say that it looks like Asterix, a comic book character made by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.The Reluctant Dragon, translated in Serbian as Ser Žile i Snebivljiva Aždaja was a very popular cartoon in the 1980s and 90s, with voiceovers made by popular Serbian actors. Sir Giles was originally voiced by Claud Allister, and the cartoon was directed by Alfred L. Werker, Hamilton Luske, Jack Cutting, Ub Iwerks, and Jack Kinney.

Know Before You Go

Monument is located on Kej Oslobođenja in Zemun, also known as Zemunski Kej, by the Danube river.

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February 6, 2023

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