The Battle of Sutjeska Memorial Monument Complex
Authors: Miodrag Zivkovic, Ranko Radovic
Date of construction: 1964-1972
Location: Tjentiste, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Recently, interest in the architecture of the former Yugoslavia, which arose in this state after the Second World War, has been steadily growing. An exhibition at the MoMA Museum titled “Towards Concrete Utopia. Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980” is another confirmation of this. A special place among the buildings created during this period is occupied by military memorials and monuments. About one of the most famous Balkan memorial complexes, which is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is an abstract composition of brutal concrete, read in our article.
Yugoslav architects after the Second World War responded to the conflicting demands of the time and the political situation, because their state was located between the capitalist West and the socialist East. Like most monuments built on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the memorial complex in the Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina is an abstract composition made of cement. The fact is that the then leader of the country, Tito, ordered the architects to erect such monuments that would break the traditional ideas about what a war memorial should be like. At the same time, they had to form a national identity during the years of the formation of a socialist country. Formally, the task was completed, but the artistic method – “brutalism” – was borrowed from the West.
The memorial complex in Sutjeska was called the “Valley of Heroes” and is dedicated to the breakthrough of a large partisan detachment from the encirclement of Nazi troops. The main part of the complex was designed by Miodrag Zivkovic. The monument consists of two symmetrical wings, consisting of pointed geometric shapes, the dramatic rhythm of which is also symbolized by the flame. The monument merges so organically with the surrounding landscape that one gets the impression that it grows out of the ground.
The passage between the “wings” leads to a plateau, where on the southern slope of the hill there is a museum complex called “Spomen-dom”, created in 1974 by Ranko Radovic. This is a massive angular building with an area of approximately 3000 square meters. meters consists of a series of interconnected corrugated reinforced concrete pyramidal towers. Inside, more than 7,000 names of partisans who died here are engraved on the walls. There are practically no sources of artificial lighting in this building, and the light inside penetrates through large windows on the roof.