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Monument to the People's Liberation Struggle

Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia
1 of 17© Roberto Conte

The monument to the National People's Struggle in Ilirska Bistrica, subtly sited in the landscape, is a superior work of sculpture and architecture. With its visual and symbolic abstraction, it gives meaning to the historical and spatial significance. It is dedicated to the fighters killed in action belonging to the Third Overseas Assault Brigade and the Fourth Yugoslav Army on top of Brinškov hillock, named - how symbolically - Hrib svobode ("Freedom Hill"). It stands on the edge of the town, elevated, but not on the highest spot. On one side, it is enclosed by 88 birches, planted only in 1981 in the memory of Josip Broz Tito, and by an open grassy landscape on the other. Today, Hrib svobode is a park with a circular commemorative path. Its beginning is marked by symbols of military history. It leads through a birch grove and around the monument. The abstract sculpture - a hollowed concrete cube measuring 8 by 8 by 8 metres - may symbolise bones stacked one on top of another. Or the interior of the concrete structure in connection with the genius loci may represent a karst cave with dripstones. The weight of the cube levitates on a recessed dug-in base featuring an inscription. Under the base, there is an ossuary accessible by double symmetrically designed exterior concrete steps. Sculptor Janez Lenassi was awarded the prestigious Prešernovega sklada prize for the monument in Ilirska Bistrica in 1966. In 2001, he designed the monument to antifascist organisation TIGR in the immediate vicinity. The entire complex is in relatively good condition. Compared to many other monuments to the People's Liberation Struggle, it reflects a positive attitude of the local community to its own war history.