A visit to southern Croatia includes an unexpected visit to a spomenik (World War II Partisan Monument).


Spomenik is more than just a word that is fiendishly difficult to remember. It's the term for monuments scattered across the former Yugoslavia, erected by Tito during the 1960s and 1970s to commemorate the Second World War. I first came across them via Jan Kempenaers's intriguing images of many of these bizarre brutalist structures. Many have fallen into disrepair or have been demolished, but others remain, often sited on dramatic hilltops.

During a recent trip to the beautiful Peljesac peninsula in southern Croatia, I was very excited to learn of the existence of a spomenik - albeit a particularly modest one - in the hills above the small fishing village of Trstenik. The monument to partisans who fought during World War II enjoys jaw-droppingly dramatic views over the mountains to the sea and remains in pretty good condition.

However, the same cannot be said for the accompanying café/restaurant building, erected for the crowds of appreciative visitors expected to come and pay their respects at the monument. According to our hosts, the restaurant only remained in operation for a year before being abandoned and left to fall into dereliction.

As a result, the spomenik was both dramatically beautiful and hauntingly sombre. I aim to return to Croatia soon and visit more of these futuristic masterpieces.

Scroll down to see my images. If you have any more information about this particular spomenik then please drop me a line.

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