The exotic scene of the sphinx in Zadar has intrigued and inspired citizens for years with imaginative ideas about its origin, secrets and powers. Since this mythical creature is known as the guardian of tombs, and Giovanni Smirich changed its function and created the sculpture as a romantic complement to his park, it was always suspected that there was something more to it hidden inside and below.
The oft-repeated idea that the sphinx sculpture was raised by Smirich as a memento to his beloved wife has not been historically confirmed. Namely, although we know that his wife Attilia passed away in 1917, and the year of construction of the sculpture is most often stated as 1918, the exact year is currently unknown. The facial expression of the sculpture itself has long been held for Attila's portrait, but that thesis could not be fully confirmed.
Among the many urban legends, there is an imaginative legend about a treasure buried in the sphinx's body. Guided by this thought, some individuals tried to reach the alleged treasure while damaging the sculpture in attempts to do so. Another legend says that there is a hidden room inside the sculpture.
Recent investigative conservation works on the current condition and the building materials and structures have given a definitive answer to these assumptions – such room does not exist. We will add – unfortunately. Moreover, the Egyptian script that decorates the nemesis – covering on the sphinx's head – prompted many to think that it was some kind of encrypted message. But there are none. Also, there are various interpretations of the meaning of the medallion depicting an eagle on the chest of the sculpture and the symbolism of the sword she held in her hands. Finally, among many legends that surround the sphinx with the vail of secrecy, the most famous one is the romantic one. It is believed that the sphinx fulfills the love desires of those who turn to it for help.