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Monument on Bukovško polje

Bukovica, Slovenia
1 of 24© Miran Kambič

Jože Plečnik understood architecture as "architectura perennis", as an activity which transcends the finiteness of human life and remains with the descendants. In monuments, he saw a memory of the past and it is no surprise that he built them throughout his life. After World War II, he also designed twenty-one monuments to war victims. Among them is the monument to "the martyrs of Selška Valley", dedicated to 338 deceased fighters and victims of fascist violence from Selška Valley, and to nineteen civilians shot on 14th July 1943. Plečnik erected the monument at the site of the shooting, in a natural environment, and pulled it away from the road, creating a birch-lined path leading to it. Plečnik connected 19 spots where hostages were shoot. The path slopes upwards somewhat and prepares one for the arrival at the place of memory. The monument is designed as a cremation monument placed on a plinth sheltered by a gabled roof on four pillars. In the upper third, the pillars are connected by four arches which indicate a low vaulted ceiling, thereby creating the motif of a "house within a house". Into the pillars, Plečnik placed stones from river Sora, while under the ceiling, he hung the preserved poles to which the victims had been tied. In his architecture, and particularly in his monuments, Plečnik used the symbolic "eternal" engagement of basic architectural elements which was intended to be clear to everyone today and in the future. He avoided sculptural depictions, such as a partisan holding a bomb, and the use of official Socialist or Communist symbols as they celebrated not so much the victims but rather the newly-formed state. Plečnik, however, emphasised the reverence towards the deceased and so the monument in Selška Valley displays no Socialist symbolism - as a whole, it is reminiscent of a village chapel with a grave in the shape of a cremation monument.

Bukovško polje