Braća Hrvatskoga Zmaja (“Brotherhood of Croatian Dragons”) is a Croatian historical and cultural society. It was established in 1905 and still operates today. The society’s purpose is to preserve and restore Croatian cultural and historical heritage and to revive memories of important Croatian past events.
The principles of this society are friendship, brotherhood, willingness, collective work, and decision making. To be admitted as a member, you must be invited.
Brief history of Braća Hrvatskoga Zmaja
Braća Hrvatskoga Zmaja was founded by Emilij pl. Laszowski and dr. Velimir Deželić. The goal of this Croatian and patriotic cultural organization was to stay free from any political impact or direction.
The society was named after the organization Red zmajskih vitezova (Order of the knights of the dragon, Ordo equestris draconis) founded by Croatian-Hungarian king Sigismund in 1408.
Sv. Juraj Mučenik (St George the Martyr) is the society’s guardian. Its symbol is the dragon with green wings, which protects a shield with a Croatian coat of arms.
The organization went on hiatus in 1946 during the former Yugoslavia and resumed after formation of the new Croatian Republic in 1990.
Here are some of the brotherhood’s most important achievements:
- Saving the Kamenita vrata in Zagreb’s Upper Town from demolition
- Foundation of the Gradska knjižnica (City Library), Gradski arhiv (City Archive) and Gradski muzej (City museum) at Kamenita vrata
- Preservation of remains of Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan
- Preservation of remains of Eugen Kvaternik, a Croatian nationalist politician and one of the founders of the Party of Rights, and his companions in 1921
- They erected a monument to the Croatian national anthem in Zelenjak in 1935, funded by donations
- Foundation of the emergency service (E.R.) in Zagreb in 1909
- Arranging Ante Starčević’s grave in Šestine, a Croatian politician and writer called the “father of the homeland”
- Initiation of the 1000th anniversary of Hrvatsko kraljevstvo (Croatian kingdom) in 1925
- They erected a monument written in Glagoljica (an old Slavic alphabet) at the Zagreb cathedral in 1944
Presently, the society and its members individually organize and participate in meetings, conferences, round tables, and other events that concern the cultural and historical Croatian heritage.
They organize events such as Christmas concerts and celebrate anniversaries of important events from the Croatian history. They also erect monuments in honor of historical events and people.
In 2019, they celebrated the 100 years anniversary of returning the remains of Zrinski and Frankopan in Zagreb.
“Croatian dragon” members
The society’s work is handled by Mešetarski zbor (Maister’s Assembly), which consists of the Grand Maister and 10 Maisters. They are elected for a period of five years.
The society’s members have included many prominent names from Croatian cultural and public life including judges, attorneys, businessmen, government and city officials, and many other professionals.
Some prominent members have included:
- Ljubo Babić (Ksaver Šandor Gjalski), a Croatian writer and politician
- Antun Bauer, a Croatian theologian and philosopher
- Oton Iveković, a Croatian painter
- Oton Kučera, a Croatian astronomer
- Ivo Pilar, a Croatian historian, politician and lawyer
- Vladimir Mažuranić, a Croatian lawyer and politician
- Nikola Faller, a Croatian conductor
- Milan Bandić, a mayor of Zagreb
- Franjo Tuđman, first Croatian president
- Ivan Lacković, a painter
- Vladimir Šeks, a politician
- Nada Abrus, an actress
Fun facts about Braća Hrvatskoga Zmaja
- Their aim is to preserve Croatian culture from nonreligious persons and “heretics”.
- To become a part of an organization, you have to be older than 33 and younger than 70.
- They have about 30 female members.
- Their headquarters is in Kula (a tower) of Kamenita vrata in Zagreb.
- They stand for the preservation of altars.
- Regular members can have their own coat of arms prescribed in their “Regulations on Dragon Coats of Arms”, which you can purchase here.
- Each member can choose their own “dragon” name, which can be related to their place of birth, residence, occupation or something else important in their life. Dragon names are unique and can be used for only one live member at a time.
- The number of the members is limited.
The society has a web library where you can buy books and publications in their edition, which help fund the society’s efforts.