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Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Dražgoše, Slovenia
1 of 11Roberto Conte

The monument commemorates the tragic epilogue of the battles fought by Partisan Cankar's battalion in Selška and Poljanska Valleys in late December 1941 and the first days of January 1942. Having occupied the territory of Upper Carniola, the Nazis intended to quell the resistance uprising. At the time, the Partisan battalion found temporary accommodation in Dražgoše. Vastly outnumbered in the face of Wehrmacht's attack, most of the battalion and some villagers retreated to plain Jelovica after a lengthy struggle. The Nazis subsequently executed 41 villagers, deported the others, and torched the village. The monument has a distinctly architectural and ambiental design, characteristic of architect Boris Kobe's work. It is one of those monuments which, rather than represent or monumentalise, frame the ambient of a historical event. The composition consists of an open air apse - a concha - dug into a hill featuring a large mosaic (painter Ive Šubic) and enveloping the wider space of the valley. Placed into its focus, on the very edge of the natural cantilever above the valley, is the sanctuary, the tholos. The design of the five columns references the characteristic masonry supports of local hayracks. The columns bear two platforms. In the centre of the lower platform, there is a large urn with the remains of executed victims and Partisans killed in action. It is guarded by two groups of figures of fighters (sculptor Stojan Batič). The upper panoramic platform opens towards the valley on one side and towards the slopes of Jelovica on the other. Today, the monument is a favourite day-trip destination due to its exposed location and the vicinity of a snack bar. Every year in early January, on the anniversary of the battle of Dražgoše, a main ceremony concludes Po stezah partizanske Jelovice ("On the Trails of the Partisan Jelovica"), a string of events which attract thousands of hikers to the monument.