Soviet-Style War Memorials Of The Former Yugoslavia No One Visits Anymore


This really exists! Even though it looks kind of like the remnant a brief takeover by aliens (or something equally strange) this massive sculpture is one of many Spomenik—World War II monuments in the former Yugoslavia (now generally known as “The Balkans”). Look past the totalitarian state that commissioned these sculptures, and we think you’ll see how awesome they are.



So, quick history: back in the 60s and 70s, what is now known as “The Balkans” was mostly Yugoslavia and definitely part of the “Eastern” or “Soviet” Bloc. In those days, pro-soviet-ness was all the rage, and nothing could be a bigger hit than celebrating the victory of the Red Army in World War II. Monuments and memorials in the abstract, soviet style popped up on hillsides and atop cliffs near battle sites.


When Yugoslavia broke up (and subsequent horrific wars broke out) in the early 1990s, much of the soviet art, including these monuments, were destroyed, and many more willfully ignored. Belgian photographer Jan Kempanaers has captured their strange elegance and varying states of disrepair in his book, Spomenik: The End of History.


The soviet style (not to mention the actual history) of these sculptures represents to many the horrors of an oppressive communist regime with strong ties to the Soviet Union. But now that the nations are independent, perhaps they can reclaim the strange beauty of these forgotten artworks. We hope so!




Via VisualNews