This Art-Nouveau fountain by architect Wilhelm Carl Hofbauer was a gift from Count Pavle Pejačević to the city of Osijek in 1903, to beautify the park Gradski Vrt (City Garden). Four massive pillars, each sprouting ornate ironwork swirls, support a central canopy that looks like a magician’s hat. Sadly the fountain is no longer in function, but the surviving structure is a fitting tribute to the prosperous, forward-looking Osijek of the pre-World War I era.
The park called Gradski Vrt was, as some traveling writers wrote, “The most beautiful park between Budapest and Istanbul”. Unfortunately that did not mean anything to the socialists who demolished the park, built a football stadium there and named it after the park Gradski Vrt. Fortunately, the fountain was saved from destruction and placed in a small park along the Drava river.
The Pejačević family is a old noble family of Bulgarian descent, originally from the northwestern Bulgarian town of Chiprovtsi. One of the oldest and most distinguished noble families of Slavonia, the Pejačevićs have produced a number of influential administrators and cultural figures. Today, descendants of the family live in Austria, the United Kingdom, Croatia and South America.
Because the 109 years old Art Nouveau fountain is a unique example of garden architecture the city of Osijek decided to have it restored. It was the first time that the fountain was thoroughly restored after 33 years, and the cost of the restoration amounted to about 250 thousand Kuna (35.000,- Euro).