Soliman: the elephant that crossed the Alps

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I don’t live in an exotic country, but my city has something going on with elephants.

A long time ago (1551-52), King John III of Portugal presented a gift to his nephew, Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Crossing the Alps, he brought an elephant to Vienna from one of his colonies in India. During his journey, the elephant and his entourage stopped in Bressanone for 14 days, giving the name to the renowned hotel that we find nowadays (Hotel Elephant).


Unfortunately, the animal died one year after his arrival in Vienna. His visit in the archiepiscopal city of Bressanone is documented.

The elephant continues to live in the collective imagination. José Saramago wrote the book “The elephant’s journey”. And since 2 years the light show “Soliman’s dream” by Spectaculaires – Allumeurs d’Images runs during the winter in Bressanone, South Tyrol, at the same time of the traditional Christmas market. I twill be running for the 3rd time between the 23rd of November 2017 and the 7th of January 2018 (More information here).

Do you have legends and histories that continue to live on where you live? 

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