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Memorial for the Slovak National Uprising

Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
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The Museum of the Slovak National Uprising is a specialized Museum with the archives of special importance that documents development of the Slovak Society between 1938-1945 with an accent on documentation of anti-fascist resistance and the Slovak National Uprising. The museum is situated in a monumental building of the memorial of the Slovak National Uprising, that was built in the Southeast part of the historical center since 1969. Today it is one of the dominants of the county town in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.

The monument was created as an entry in a competition from 1959. In it, the architect reached for a form characteristic of the era: rising above the plinth is the low mass of a simple square volume. In its elementary force, it is possible to discern an overcoming of previous historicist ornament with a lapidary geometric shape. Because of political objections, Kuzma could only return to the project in 1963. However, his own talent was closer to a sculptural form, and so in conceiving a more definitive form of the work he joined with the young sculptor Jozef Jankovic. Jankovic's suggestive sculpture 'The Victims' Warning' became the central accent of the entire building (after the Soviet invasion in 1968 it was moved to Kalist, and returned to the monument only in 2004 for commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the uprising). The aesthetic effect of the building is grounded on the force of the exposed concrete, from which the two shell-segments are formed from the horizontal base. Inside of them are the main spaces of the museum of the Slovak anti-Fascist partisan movement from 1944.

This architecturally interesting building symbolizes history of the Slovak nation in two asymmetric reinforced concrete monuments joined with the bridge that symbolizes an idea of the Slovak National Uprising as an important milestone in the life of the Slovak society during the Second World War.The monument is composed of the horizontal base and the sculptural mass sliced in two through the centre. The sides of the incision are of glass; the ceiling slabs in both volumes are freely suspended. At the centre of the composition is the 'memorial entrance hall' in the ground floor, with wood flagging. In the ground-floor mass are a research archive, lecture hall, toilets, storage and depository areas. The monument is a listed national landmark.

The space between the two monuments is used as a pious hall with the symbolic grave of an Unknown Soldier and the everlasting flame, most important battlefields of uprising and places of Nazi repression. Memorial tablets to victims of Holocaust from Slovakia and to the foreign fighters of the Slovak National Uprising are paced there as well. The whole memorial of the Slovak National Uprising was proclaimed as a national cultural heritage. The Slovak National Uprising is presented as an important part of the European anti-nazi resistance during the WWII.

The Museum of the Slovak National Uprising is surrounded by the large park area. There is an open-air exhibition of heavy armament situated in the park. Close to the entrance to the park area there is the most interesting exhibit - aircraft LI-2. This aircraft was used to carry persons and material to an airbase Three Oaks in time of the Slovak National Uprising. The interior of the aircraft is opened for public.

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ziggurat, May 30th, 2014
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