Monday, April 13, 2020

Monumenta slavica

More than fifteen years ago I posted a brief note about the Balkan folk-song "Mečkin Kamen" (The Bear's Rock) and its commemoration of the 1903 Illinden uprising in what is now North Macedonia. I included an image of the spomenik (monument) at Kruševo, which memorializes the same events. Today I discovered that an American biologist named Donald Niebyl has spent several years compiling a lavishly-illustrated database of similar monuments throughout the former Yugoslavia.

Unlike the Illinden spomenik (which he includes), most of these memorials (one example is shown above) commemorate the anti-fascist struggle in the Balkans during World War II. Constructed largely between 1960 and 1990, these oddly-shaped Brutalist structures are now often in disrepair. Sometimes atrocious in isolation, they can be uncannily evocative when viewed in their surroundings.

A related book, Spomenik Monument Database, is available from FUEL Publishing.

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