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Atlas Obscura Cast-Iron Dogs of Tivoli Castle

When you take a stroll through Tivoli, the largest park in Ljubljana, you may come across four cast-iron dogs sitting gracefully at the foot of Rožnik Hill. These statues stand guard on a staircase that leads to a beautiful mansion, might look ordinary to any passerby. But don’t be fooled—they are all missing a vital muscular organ, and are somewhat of an enigma.

These four iron-cast hounds were made around 1864, by the sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn. The Austrian artist and well-acclaimed animalier is the main protagonist in a contemporary urban legend. Local rumors have it that the artist was a perfectionist at heart. During the process of developing his sculptures he was preoccupied with perfecting their design, and completely forgot about the dogs’ tongues. He didn’t realize his mistake until it was too late. A false rumor circulated that the sculptor shot himself after the statues were revealed to the public. 

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