A Monument of Remembrance
The Tjentište memorial is nothing if not thought provoking. A grand imposing monument of remembrance, dedicated to the many thousands who died during the Battle of Sutjeska. A bloody and ultimately failed German military operation which took place between May and June of 1943 during World War Two.
The Battle was the second attempt by Axis forces to destroy a group of Yugoslavian partisan forces and to capture their leader, Josip Broz Tito. Estimates vary but around 20,000 local partisans fought against 127,000 axis forces. The axis side consisted of German, Bulgarian, Italian and Greek troops, along with air support from 300 planes. After fierce fighting many of the Yugoslavian forces were able to escape along with their leader, however around 6,000 partisans and 2000 civilians were killed during the fighting.
Freedom, Equality and Progress
The enormous concrete sculpture was commissioned in the 1970s by Tito, who was to become President of Yugoslavia. In truth, when in power Tito commissioned well over 100 monuments across Yugoslavia commemorating the victims of fascism. The monuments were intended to represent an optimistic future of freedom, equality, and progress. This Tjentište Memorial specifically was designed by Miodrag Živković, the renowned Serbian sculpture. He is also well known for a large number of other monuments that are scattered across former Yugoslavia.
Located in the Sutjeska National Park which now lies within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The site is surrounded by some stunning mountains and lush forests. The chiselled rugged appearance resembles a pair of hands pointed to the heavens, carved in an angular almost random fashion. Arriving on site you have to ascend a set of stairs and once atop you will find yourself between the two concrete forms. There is a museum nearby, but don’t get too excited as it is now abandoned.
A Nation Looking to Its Future
During the 70s and 80s this monument attracted thousands of visitors per year, but following the break up of Yugoslavia in 1992 the site has seen fewer and fewer visitors. A lack of funding in what is a relatively young nation looking to the future means the site is left to the elements. But this only adds to the admittedly eerie atmosphere on site.
[one_half]Opening Hours: Open all hours[/one_half][one_half_last]Address: Tjentiste, Bosnia and Herzegovina[/one_half_last]
[one_half]Price: Free[/one_half][one_half_last]Website: n/a[/one_half_last]
Photo credit: Photo 1 by npsutjeska.net