The Legend of Manduševac

Manduševac is the most famous fountain in Zagreb. It is located on Ban Josip Jelačić Square and you can see it on the county's coat of arms as well. The fountain is a favourite gathering place for tourists, but also one of the symbols of the city of Zagreb. Historically, the spring of water at the site has been around since ancient times. It is located in the area of the former market place (Harmica) under the walls of the old town. According to the legend, Zagreb is named after Manduševac. There are several variants of interesting stories about Manduševac, girl Manda and Zagreb.

One of them is the story of a girl, Manda, who was near the water spring when a young knight was passing by on a horse. He was thirsty so he addressed the girl by saying, "Manda, dear, grab it!" (Croatian: “Mando, zagrabi!). So, both Manduševac and Zagreb got their names. Another story says that while the water in Manduševac was drinkable, it was said that anyone who drinks water there would stay forever in Zagreb and fall in love with the city. A third legend says that Manduša, the daughter of King Krešimir, was in love with Ban Dobromir. Manduša was known for her marvellous powers over water and finding potable water. Dobromir and Manduša were in love, but their love did not have a bright future. King Krešimir promised the hand of his daughter to the Hungarian prince Emerik. Manduša was unhappy with the arrangement and grieved for days. Her father took pity on her and allowed Dobromir to accompany her to her future husband. When they almost reached Emerik, they learned that he had died suddenly. They headed back home, but were very thirsty because of the great summer drought. There was nothing left but for Manduša to look for water. She looked for water with a branch, and when the branch shook in one place, Manduša exclaimed, "Scratch it here!" (Croatian: “Zagrebite!”) Because the water was clear, drinkable and clean, they decided to establish a city around this well. And so Zagreb came into being.

Unfortunately, the water from Manduševac today is no longer drinkable. But the fountain has remained in place since the reinvention and restoration that took place in the late 1980s.