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Memorial Complex Slobodiste

Krusevac, Serbia
1 of 27
Bogdanovic reading

Memorial complex Slobodiste is located in the southern part of Krusevac where during World War 2, 1,643 civilian victims from the wider town area were killed in seventeen mass shootings. The construction of the monument next to the juvenile detention centre began in 1960 with the regulation of the site, while architect Bogdanovic received the commission for the layout from the local Association of the Union of People's Liberation War Veterans in 1961. The complex was finished in 1964 and given the name Slobodiste in 1965. From that year on, commemorative manifestations under the umbrella title "Solemnities of Freedom" have been held: from 28th June until 7th July, they celebrate Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day), the remembrance of the shooting of the largest group of 324 victims in 1943 on 29th June, as well as Veterans' Day and Serbian Uprising Day. Beginning in the 1990, these events became known as "Solemnities of Vidovdan"; however, the programme often features unsuitable popular music content. The memorial complex comprises three spatial units. It begins in the Valley of the Living (amphitheatre), which is separated from the central space, the Valley of the Mail, by Solar Gate, built in 1985. There are twelve stone sculptures in the distinct shape of spread wings in the Valley of the Mail, while the earth bank features a water wheel and a fire pit. The landscape regulations of both valleys were done with heavy construction machinery. The third self-contained whole is an authentic plateau called the Firing Range with mass graves beneath it. Immediately by the complex, in the primary protected area, there is a memorial park and the House of Freedom, constructed in 1978. In the wider protected area, in the direction of settlement Rasadnik, an expansion was envisaged for Slobodiste, designed as a monument to be added to by future generations, but it remains unrealised.

Architect Bogdan Bogdanovic realized the monument at the suggestion of Dobrica Cosic, soldier of the Rasina partisan detachment. Building of the complex lasted from 1960 until 1965. There is a following inscription on the monument:"Under this sky, human, straighten up. Bread and freedom are the same thing to us." The basic elements of the monument are burial mounds, "Gate of Sun", "Valley of giving respect" with 12 stone birds which arise from the ground and symbolise new life,"Valley of the living ones", and the amphitheater with a stage and an auditorium. Today, "Slobodiste" is a historical complex (mausoleum) which is a place widely visited by citizens of Krusevac, as well as foreign tourists.

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teodora, October 27th, 2019
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