Between the Sponza Palace and the Church of St. Blaise (Vlaho) is a stone column with the figure of a medieval warrior in arms bearing a sword and shield, carved into the column. It was carved by domestic master Antun Dubrovcanin in 1418. The statue is a symbol of the freedom of Dubrovnik and the flag of the Republic always flies upon this column during ceremonies, while government proclamations and announcements were read to the people from the column's pedestal. The legend of how this column came to be is tied to the legend of the legendary hero Orlando (Rolando) who - according to the legend - helped to liberate Dubrovnik from the dangerous sieges of Arab pirates in the 8th century, and the citizens erected this column in his honour. Today, a ceremony before Orlando and the raising of the "Libertas" flag on the column marks the opening of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival every year.