The bronze horseman statue (Prince Mihailo Monument) in the square was added in 1882 to honour Prince Mihailo’s successful expulsion of all Ottoman occupiers from Serbian territory. It’s said that the prince on horseback is pointing in the direction of Constantinople, gesturing to the Turks to leave and go back in that direction.
Belgrade locals often use this statue as a well known meeting place and simply tell each other ‘Meet at the horse’. When the statue was unveiled, every church in Belgrade rang their bells to celebrate while 101 cannons were fired. Today Republic Square is a busy meeting place with cafes, restaurants, museums and a theatres.
Republic Square, formally known as ‘Stambol Gate’ was named after the road which led to Constantinople. This area is also remembered as the place where the Turks executed non-muslims by impalement. During an attack in 1806 when the first Serbian Uprising began, a leading Serbian military commander was fatally wounded here.