Yugoslavian Monuments

Posted by Jon

For my first post I wanted to share these striking retro-future-ish memorial sculptures shot by Jan Kempenaers in the former Yugoslavia region. Very reminiscent of the Expo ’67 stuff.

These structures were commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place (like Tjentište, Kozara and Kadinjača), or where concentration camps stood (like Jasenovac and Niš). They were designed by different sculptors (Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živković, Jordan and Iskra Grabul, to name a few) and architects (Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković…), conveying powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic.

More info and images here and at Kempenaers’ site.

26 Comments Leave A Comment


Anonymous says:

April 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Jan Kempenaers’s straightforward and stark approach suits these monuments quite well, imo.


koneyn says:

April 29, 2011 at 12:36 am

I was born in Yugoslavia (now Serbia) and unfortunately I haven’t seen most of these in vivo. Actually, only a few years ago I started to dig out fantastic images of these places and naturally wished very much to visit them. Seems like a terrible excuse, but haven’t had the real opportunity so far.

What is perhaps most striking about these is that most, if not all, were built literally in middle of nowhere. The second picture in this blog entry is located in Sutjeska, Bosnia, completely surrounded by inhospitable mountain terrain (to give you a hint of the nature I am talking about, this is the picture from the area:

If we get wiped out as a civilization, grandchildren of some future generations that may have survived will probably wonder if we were trying to get closer to God by these. While in fact it was all about fighting Nazis :)


Porto Novo says:

April 29, 2011 at 2:21 am

The very bottom, I will make that one my house. It’s sad that architectural design like this isn’t more prevalent these days. 80% of today’s residential housing is such an eye sore. I know these are monuments, but I love the fearlessness of these designers.


Anonymous says:

April 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

I visited most of these monuments while i was in school (many years ago). It was historical cultural legacy and every kid knew a story behind each memorial. Now they are forgotten and rusty gems. Most of these are located in Bosnia.
Funny how those pictures now popping out everywhere.


seriously says:

April 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

“very reminiscent of expo 67 stuff”… come on. The architecture at Expo ’67 wasn’t the only example of protomodern existentialist pre-post aburdist surburbanism.


Alex / HeadUp says:

April 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Very nice! I have always been fascinated with WWII and its effects on art and design, although I rarely see such captivating monuments. What were designers all on in the 60’s and 70’s, any country you look at was producing what I think was their finest work during that period.


nomes says:

April 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

Im so glad to see this on your blog, and to see that arhitecture from ex Yugoslavia is getting recognition it deserves. Im proud to say i have visited most of this monuments long time ago.


mp says:

April 30, 2011 at 11:04 am

I agree.

Being quite familiar w/ the Expo 67 stuff, this imo looks nothing like it.


Anonymous says:

April 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I really like all aspects behind these structures. I agree that the scenery really compliments the structures and visversa.


Jon says:

April 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm

@Seriously & @MP – Thank you for your comments. That was just the connection I made in my head, but I’m interested in your thoughts on the matter. Would love to see more work like this.


mark says:

May 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

Duude, you must be psychic ;) I was just looking at these and thought of you right away, so headed over here to give you a heads up and here they are ;)

Amazing stuff, such a shame they’ve gone into such a bad state, although the deca and weathering kind of adds to the impact of them. Love it!


fr says:

May 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

Wow, those are all amazing. I can’t believe they’re all by different people. Whoever commissioned them had great taste.


amandla.amandla says:

June 16, 2011 at 4:45 am

The last one, called Macedonium, is from Krusevo, Macedonia.Have been there many times on school excursions.
It has always reminded me of this Hungarian cartoon character beautifully named Mikroby (
@Porto Novo, I also think it would be the coolest home, with the light breaking through the stained glass windows, and the huge space inside :)