Pobednik (The Victor) is a monument located in the Belgrade Fortress in Belgrade, built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan Wars and the First World War.
Built in 1928 and standing at 14 meters high, it is one of the most famous works of Ivan Meštrović. It is also one of the most visited tourist attractions in Belgrade and the city’s most recognizable landmark.
In 1912, Meštrović was commissioned to design a grand commemorative fountain on Terazije square. The center basin of the fountain was to include a five-stepped column where the Pobednik statue was to stand on. The project was interrupted following the outbreak of the Second Balkan War and the First World War. The original plans were eventually scrapped and the statue was placed atop a marble column and unveiled in 1928, atop the Belgrade Fortress during the 10th anniversary of the breakthrough at the Thessaloniki Front.
The statue holds a dove in the left hand signaling peace to all those who enter Belgrade and a sword of war in its lowered right hand representing the city’s war-torn past. The statue looks forward across the confluence of the Sava and the Danube and over the vast Pannonian plain towards the very distant Fruška Gora mountain – towards the (at the time) Austro-Hungarian empire. It is probably the most powerful, most popular visual symbol of Belgrade.