(Photo: Dino Stanin/PIXSELL) (Photo: Dino Stanin/PIXSELL)

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen-Koržinek called the move "yet another opportunity to express respect for the great Croatian and American inventor of Serb descent." The massive statue was installed on the newly-renovated Nikola Tesla Square, located several kilometres from Tesla's birthplace of Smiljan.

The sculpture unveiled on Tuesday was erected to replace an identical statue which had been put up in 1981 and blown up in February 1992. Identical copies of the statue also stand at the site of the first hydroelectric power plant in the world at Niagara Falls State Park in New York and in front of the University of Belgrade's School of Electrical Engineering.

Minister Obuljen-Koržinek said the return of the statue marked a special moment, which she called "yet another victory for culture and civilization."

"I believe that Tesla's life will serve as a reminder to young people that one should always believe in knowledge, in one's dreams, and always work for the common good," said the minister.

A memorial center dedicated to Tesla opened in Smiljan in 2006, which includes some of his inventions as well as the rebuilt house of the Tesla family.

Source: HRT