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Kadinjaca Memorial Complex

Uzice, Serbia
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The memorial complex is dedicated to the Partisan fighters of Workers' Battalion of Uzice who were killed on 29th November 1941 in the battles at Kadinjaca. At the beginning of World War 2, the Republic of Uzice was the first liberated territory in Europe and served as a haven for the Supreme Staff of the Partisan units headed by Josip Broz Tito. The Partisans were defending the Republic of Uzice to secure the retreat of the Supreme Staff from Uzice towards Sandzak. This legendary Partisan feat served as the basis for the 1974 film Uzicka republika directed by Zika Mitrovic (b. 1921, d. 2005). The elaborate architectural-sculptural design of the monument covering 15 ha was created between 1952 and 1979. The first memorial for this legendary heroic event dates to 1952 when an ossuary with the remains of the fighters killed in action and a monument shaped as a four-sided pyramid were erected, based on the designs by sculptor Stevan Zivanovic. The pyramid measures 11m in height and contains engraved stanzas from "Kadinjaca", a poem by Uzice poet Slavko Vukosavljevic (b. 1927, d. 2004). In 1962, veteran organisation SUBNOR of Titovo Uzice suggested an additional layout to the monument. The new programme- and spatial design project by sculptor Miodrag Zivkovic (b. 1928) and architect Aleksandar Dokic (b. 1936, d. 2002) was approved in 1977. The grand opening of the monument was officiated by President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito on 23rd September 1979 with 100,000 people in attendance. From the onset, memorial complex Kadinjaca captured the public attention and was declared immovable cultural good of special importance the very same year. The memorial complex comprises three segments - the amphitheatre of the Republic of Uzice, the Workers' Battalion promenade, which connects to the original pyramid monument by means of a series of sculptures, and the Freedom platform. From the tallest (14m) element with a symbolic opening reminiscent of a bullet hole, a dynamic figural composition of fighters symbolising the struggle for freedom unfolds in the direction of the amphitheatre. Another constituent part of the complex is the visitor centre building with the memorial well, installed at the site of the former battlefield, which integrates nicely with the configuration of the terrain. In relation with the landscape, the distinctively designed and dynamic composition of the architectural-sculptural elements forms an exceptionally effective spatial whole. Memorial architecture dedicated to the Revolution and the antifascist struggle of Yugoslav Partisans in World War 2 is a specific cultural and artistic phenomenon in the period of Yugoslav socialist society. Many among the monuments erected between the 1950s and the 1970s - including the memorial complex at Kadinjaca - are the result of an interdisciplinary approach and a joint commitment by distinguished artists and architects. They have particular cultural and artistic value and they represent an important part of the total cultural heritage of ex-Yugoslav countries. During the time of the tragic, warmongering dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, memorial complex Kadinjaca was neglected and exposed to the elements. Its renovation began in 2005.

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bostjan, August 8th, 2020
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