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Kikinda (Кикинда)



In this article, we investigate the many spomenik sites around Kikinda, Serbia that are dedicated to commemorating the history and heritage of the Partisan fighters and civilian victims that perished at the hands of fascist occupiers during WWII.

World War II

The city of Kikinda (known as "Great Kikinda" before WWII) is located in Serbia's north autonomous province of Vojvodina, standing as the most populous community in northern Banat (a cultural region to the east of Vojvodina) (Photo 1). In the lead-up to WWII, the area of Kikinda primarily consisted of three main ethnic groups, Serbs, Hungarians and Danube Swabians (a German-speaking group). When the German Army invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April of 1941 (also known as the April War), the German Army put the Swabians in charge of the administration of the Banat region (despite it being technically under the auspices of Milan Nedić's puppet government of the National Salvation in Belgrade). As such, Kikinda fell under the ultimate power of the Swabians, who up until then had lived among them as their friends and neighbors. The Swabians began the persecution of Kikinda's ethnic Serbs, as well as its smaller minority populations of Roma and Jews. This oppression entailed not only illicit arrests, beatings, torture and other inhumane treatment, but also forced deportations to concentration camps and execution.


Photo 1: A view of Kikinda before WWII


Photo 2: A photo of Yugoslavs working in forced labor in Norway camps during WWII

In many instances, these deportations to concentration camps were solely for the benefit of satisfying the German war machine's need for forced labor. As a result, a total of 46 anti-fascists from Kikinda were deported to forced labor concentration camps around Narvik, Norway, specifically at Beisfjord and Bjørnfjell, primarily building roads, fortifications and airports. Over 5,000 Yugoslavs were sent to Norway during WWII on such forced labor projects (Photo 2), with many hundreds of them being killed, massacred and worked to death. Of the 46 Kikindans that were sent to Norway, only 7 ever returned home. In the realm of atrocities, it is also important to mention the degree to which Jews were persecuted in Kikinda (and the Banat region as a whole) during WWII. The majority of Kikinda Jews were deported from the town in August of 1941. In fact, the Swabians were so effective at removing the region's Jewish residents that it was ultimately declared by regional German authorities to be "Judenfrei" or "free of Jews". As Kikinda was one of the main population centers for Jews in Banat, such efforts were particularly devastating.

In response to this oppression and torment by the Swabian and the German Army occupiers, local peoples across Banat began to form resistance units as part of the Partisan resistance movement organized by Josip Broz Tito and his Yugoslav Communist Party (KPJ). The most notable Partisan unit that formed in the area of Kikinda was a group aptly named the "Kikinda Partisan Detachment". This unit, which was among the first Partisan detachments organized in Vojvodina, was formed in an area just on the southwest edge of Kikinda called "Janković's Farm" on July 28th, 1941. However, they soon pushed back further out to a forested location roughly 5km southwest of town known as "Simić's Farm" (Simićev Salaš). They were commanded by Uglješa Terzin, with their political commissar being Radovan Trnić. However, on August 4th, local German units were tipped off to the location of the Kikinda Partisans at Simić's Farm. As a result, roughly 350 German troops & and gendarmerie then descended that morning on the farm, resulting in a +2-hour shoot-out that killed 17 of the Partisans (Photo 3), including Terzin and Trnić.


Photo 3: Kikinda Partisan Detachment fighters killed at "Simić's Farm" (Simićev Salaš) in August of 1941 [source]


Photo 4: Kikinda Partisans derailing a German Army train near Vrbica in late 1941 [source]

However, this bloody event did not dissuade resistance activities, as the surviving rebels went on to form the Kikinda-Mokrina Partisan Unit. Partisans continued to organize and orchestrate sabotage and diversion attacks against the occupiers through 1941 and 1942 (Photo 4). In retaliation for these Partisan incursions (particularly one that resulted in the killing of three Wehrmacht soldiers), the Banat Nazi Gestapo chief Franz Reith decided to apply the notorious "50 for 1" rule created by Wehrmacht commander of Serbia Franz Böhme, where 50 civilians would be killed for every 1 killed German soldier. This draconian directive was intended to harshly dissuade Partisans from any efforts towards targeting or attacking German soldiers. As such, putting this directive into action, on January 9th, 1942, 150 civilians were gathered up from around Kikinda (as well as the surrounding villages) and morbidly executed. The victims of this massacre were largely young Serb men aged between 19 and 25.

Through 1943 and 1944, the German occupiers and Swabian officials rooted out any people or groups in Kikinda who were suspected or proven to be aiding or helping the Partisan resistance efforts However, such extreme actions did not stop their revolutionary efforts, now being organized as the North Banat Partisan Detachment. Meanwhile, the continued persecution of ethnic Serbs and the remaining Jewish and Roma populations continued as well during this period. However, by the end of the autumn of 1944, the German Army occupiers and Swabians were aware of the impending armies of the Soviets (46th Army) and Partisans (13th Vojvodina Brigade) descending towards Kikinda from the direction of Timișoara, Romania. As such, many Germans (both Nazi troops and civilians) started fleeing west in anticipation of this substantial approaching force. The Soviet and Partisan armies arrived in Kikinda and liberated it from occupation on October 6th, 1944. Sources recount that during the occupation of Kikinda during WWII, roughly 600 of its residents were either executed, died in battle, died in camps or perished in other killing grounds across Yugoslavia (and beyond).

The WWII Monuments of Kikinda:

In this section, we will examine the numerous monuments and spomenik sites located around the city of Kikinda (as well as the greater rural region) that are dedicated to the events of WWII (also known as the People's Liberation Struggle), its fallen Partisan fighters, the civilian victims, as well as the pivotal events which took place here during this period. For each site, we will investigate their creation, their author, what they commemorate, their current condition, as well as any symbolism they might contain.

Monument to the Victims of Fascism:

Situated in the center of Kikinda next to the National Museum is the Monument to the Victims of Fascism of Kikinda (also called the "Liberation Monument") (Photo 5). Unveiled on November 29th, 1961 and designed by Vojvodina sculptor Aleksandar Zarin (who authored numerous WWII monuments across Vojvodina), this work in Kikinda is composed of three elements, the white marble paved ceremonial plaza (roughly 30 sqm in size), the central bronze figure and two sculptural reliefs. Sitting upon a white stone pedestal at the rear center of the plaza (about 1.5m tall and 3m wide), the bronze figure, titled "The Wounded/Ranjenik", is very angular and stylistic in its form. It grabs at its chest as if it were suffering from a gunshot blast, thus, it embodies all those Partisan fighters who perished during the war, both those from Kikinda who died in far-flung areas and those who came from elsewhere to fight for Kikinda's liberation.

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Photo 5: A photo of the Monument to the Victims of Fascism which is located in Kikinda, Serbia.

Sources point out that Zarin's sculptural inspiration for "The Wounded" figure came from the famous 1953 "Destroyed City" Monument in Rotterdam, Netherlands by the Russian-born French sculptor Ossip Zadkine, who himself was inspired by Rodin and cubism. Like Zarin's work, Zadkine's monument exhibits great pathos and dynamism that is styled within the confines of a deconstructed human form. Meanwhile, flanking either side of the central sculpture are two sculptural relief compositions made of bronze lattice affixed to two white marble walls. Also crafted by Zarin, these compositions depict heroic scenes of Partisans fighting for the liberation of Kikinda against the fascist occupiers. Rendered in a highly stylized way, similar to the central sculpture, Zarin's figures depict significant action and pathos with their sharp impressions of movement and unity. The modernist nature of the sculptural elements within this monument was unique at its time of unveiling in 1961, with some sources asserting that this was the first "abstract" monument in Serbia. The monument went on to serve as one of the symbols of the city, being featured prominently on many of the city's postcards and promotional images.

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Photo 6: A view of the monument before the start of restoration in the early 2010s

During the early years of the post-Yugoslav era, the Victims of Fascism Monument fell into a state of neglect, accumulating appreciable amounts of graffiti and damage across its various elements (Photo 6). Large sections of the bronze lattice relief were broken off by vandals and reportedly sold for scrap. It was not until 2014 that an extensive cleaning and rehabilitation project began, which concluded in 2017 and resulted in the monument being brought back to a presentable condition. This work entailed not only cleaning but also replacing part of the damaged bronze lattice reliefs, in addition to most of the site's white marble slabs. The project cost 8 million dinar and was coordinated by the veterans group SUBNOR. The repair of the bronze lattices was done by the Subotica Inter-Municipal Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments. Commemorative annual ceremonies and events continue to be held here and are well attended. The exact coordinates for this monument are N45°49'51.4", E20°27'55.2".

Monument to Deported Citizens:

Located roughly 50m to the northeast of the Monument to the Victims of Fascism is a green space called "Narvik Park of Friendship". At the center of this park is a memorial complex called the "Monument to Deported Citizens" (Photo 7). This work commemorates the 46 Kikinda citizens who were deported to Norway during WWII to toil away at forced labor camps. Of those that were sent, only 7 returned back to Kikinda alive at the end of the war. This work was unveiled in 1975 and created by local Kikinda-born sculptor Slobodan Kojić, who is the founder of Kikinda's International Symposium of Terracotta Sculpture "Terra". Crafted of white marble blocks (ranging from 1.5m to 3m tall), the monument is composed of five pillars, almost resembling chess pieces. Each pillar (or figure) has a flat top, symbolizing that each of these figures had their youth cut short through abrupt and violent means. These five figures sit at the center of a sunken circular amphitheater, which was originally intended as a place for interpretive presentations.


Photo 7: A photo of the marble figures of the Monument to Deported Citizens in Kikinda, Serbia.

Around the edge of the amphitheater of the monument are installed a set of five inscribed panels, four metal and one polished stone. The four metal panels are inscribed with the names of the local Kikinda citizens who were deported to Norway during the war. Meanwhile, the polished stone panel [see photo HERE] bears an inscription in both Norwegian and Serbian that reads, when translated into English, as: "1942 - 1945, In eternal memory of the political internees from Kikinda in Beisfjord near Narvik. Norweign-Yugoslav Society, Narvik, 1975".

As was the case with other WWII monuments in Kikinda, the Monument to Deported Citizens also fell into a state of neglect in the early years of the post-Yugoslav-era. However, in 2009, the Embassy of Norway in Serbia spent 310,000 dinar towards its refurbishment. Then, in 2015, further restoration efforts were put forward. As of 2024, the monument resides in good condition and continues to host annual commemorative events. The exact coordinates for this monument are N45°49'53.0", E20°27'56.7".

Monument at Simićev Salaš:

Roughly 5km southwest of Kikinda is a forested rural location off of the main road known as "Simićev Salaš" (or "Simić's Farm"). This location was the base camp of the Kikinda Partisan Detachment, who were ambushed by German troops on August 4th, 1941, resulting in the deaths of the vast majority of the unit. To commemorate the site and honor the lives of the fallen Partisans, a monument was erected here in 1966, the work of Croatian sculptor Rudolf Matutinović (Photo 8). The monument is composed of a circle within which are positioned 14 stylized angular fist sculptures bursting out of the ground (8 standing about 2m tall and 6 standing about 1m tall). They are each carved from white marble blocks, with each one being unique in style. The form of the upward thrusting fist is a commonly used revolutionary motif representing oppressed peoples fighting against their bondage and subjugation. 

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Photo 8: A photo of the Simićev Salaš Monument near Kikinda.

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Photo 9: A view of the engravings found at the Simićev Salaš Monument at Kikinda.

The main element of adornment upon these carved marble fists is a series of four pictorial engravings (Photo 9). Each of these engravings depicts a motif that is central to the message of the Partisan uprising. Firstly, in the upper-left panel of Photo 9, we see a pair of hands releasing a pair of white doves. The doves are an unambiguous symbol of peace, while the hands releasing them can be understood as those of the Partisans fighting to restore peace back to Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, in the upper right panel, we see two clenched fists raised in defiance, demanding their freedom. In the lower-left panel, we see the people rising up against that oppression, raising their simple farm implements and tools into the air, illustrating that these are simple people of the land who are struggling only to take back what belongs to their community. Lastly, in the lower right panel, we see two small children putting their arms up, with looks of distress on their faces. These children not only represent the suffering of the region's children at the hands of the fascist occupiers, but they also depict children who have lost their parents (as Partisans or victims of fascism), now left as simple orphans and desperate for salvation. Filled with pathos, these images together tell a story about the struggles of the people of Kikinda, they tell of the passion of the people in their revolutionary effort to rise up against hate and oppression, and they speak to the people's need for freedom and peace.

The last elements of this site to mention are the many engraved inscriptions made upon several of these marble fists. Firstly, as one approaches the monument circle from the entrance pathway, there is a center stone aligned with the path that one encounters first (just left of the 'uprising' picture engraving seen at the lower-left of Photo 9). When translated into English, this stone's inscription reads as follows:

"At this place on the 4th of August, 1941, these fighters died bravely:"

The stone then goes on to list the 17 names of the Partisan fighters who perished during the ambush. The next inscribed stone is situated just to the left and bears a poetic stanza by a poet who is identified only with the initials "M.Lj.C." at the bottom of the verse. These initials most likely refer to the wife of the monument's creator Rudolf Matutinović, who was the notable Croatian poet and literary scholar Ljerka Car Matutinović. This poetic verse, when roughly translated into English, reads as:

"The desolate plains lay down, the plains lay desolate, silent, sad, the rain is hitting, it's raining iron, the ravine carries a man, relationships reveal a person, resistance and strength remain and courage and rebellion remain unconquered, our name untrodden."

Continuing around the circle to the left, the next inscribed stone contains yet another poetic stanza by Ljerka Car Matutinović, while also containing underneath that a small pictorial engraving of two hands turning pages in a book, with the book cover inscribed "Rudolf Matutinović, 1966", the author of this monument and the year it was unveiled. The poetic stanza reads, when translated roughly into English, as:

"Seventeen heroes live, live a life of rebellion and strength, they carry the plains mother in their chest, warm plains, wide country, seventeen heroes live, they live in death, great, brave."

Finally, continuing around the circle to the left, we come to the last inscribed marble block, which contains, by itself, one last poetic stanza by Ljerka Car Matutinović. This poetic inscription reads, when roughly translated into English, as:

"Our memories are respect and pride, seventeen warriors, it carried great strength, countries emerged from the army, like an unconquered mountaineer, hands laid the plain, the end of the earth, and then meet the sun... freedom! Our memories are our raised forehead to the light, tremendous light."

The last element of this complex to mention is a small gravesite set off to the side from this main monument complex that is dedicated to the Kikinda Scout Detachment "Proka Sredojev", who, as far as I've been able to establish, was a local unit involved in the liberation of Kikinda during WWI. The marker, which was established in 1954, stands as a small stone wall with an inlaid stone plaque bearing his name. Around the marker is a low wrought iron fence.

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Photo 10: A vintage postcard of the Simićev Salaš Monument near Kikinda.

In the years after the dismantling of Yugoslavia, the Simićev Salaš memorial site has fallen into a poor state of repair. The marble stones were for a long time in desperate need of cleaning and much vegetation was overgrown. However, around 2021, the monument received a significant cleaning and rehabilitation, leaving it as of 2023 in a much-improved condition. In addition, also during this time, over 3 million dinars were spent on improving the general surroundings of the monument site, such as improved picnic tables, trails, paved surfaces and facilities. However, there is yet to be installed here any interpretive placards, information boards or directional signs from the main road. In addition, this area is a popular local picnic spot (particularly during May Day celebrations) and, as such, the surroundings can often be found littered with trash. Annual commemoration ceremonies and events are still held here, drawing in many locals to pay respects. The exact coordinates for the Simićev Salaš memorial site are N45°45'25.9", E20°24'08.4".

Kikinda Partisan Detachment Formation:

On the southeast end of the town of Kikinda in an area called Livnice, just along the main road that takes one out of town towards Zrenjanin, is an area historically known as Janković's Farm. This was the location where the Kikinda Partisan Detachment was formed by local fighters on July 28th, 1941. To commemorate this historical event, a monument was erected at this location in 1981 (Photo 11), the work of notable Serbian sculptor Dragan Radenović (along with architect Petar Marković). Commonly referred to as "The Flame/Plamen", the monument consists of a roughly 10m tall stainless steel obelisk that is composed of seven individual vertical layers of metal. Each of these layers has a cut-out at their center with a unique undulating design, giving the obelisk an organic dripping motif within negative space that cascades down along its height. The obelisk itself sits upon a small mound with a small set of stairs leading up to its base.


Photo 11: Monument to the Formation of the Kikinda Partisan Detachment.

While this monument currently sits in a reasonable state of repair, it must be noted that there are no elements, inscriptions, signs or placards that communicate for visitors what this monument honors or represents, nor are there any signs along the main road alerting passing motorists to its existence. Annual commemorative ceremonies continue to be held here to honor the site, with these events being well attended, even by local and regional government officials. One last notable thing to point out is that the Serbian filmmaker Jelena Radenović, daughter of this monument's creator Dragan Radenović, produced a 2019 documentary about the spomeniks of Yugoslavia titled "Milestones/Umetnost secanja" which featured The Flame Monument throughout the film. A trailer for the film can be watched at YouTube HERE. The exact coordinates for this monument are N45°48'35.8", E20°26'01.3".

Memorial to Fallen Fighters:

On the northwest edge of the town of Kikinda can be found the Mokrina Cemetery (Mokrinsko Groblje) complex. In front of the cemetery is a small green space called "Cemetery Park", at the center of which is a memorial space and crypt which contains the remains of fallen fighters, both Partisan and Red Army, who fell during the liberation of Kikinda in October of 1944. Walking up a wide set of short stairs takes visitors up to a marble-paved memorial plateau, with the crypt sitting at the center of this plateau. Atop this crypt is placed a sculptural composition created by Vojvodina sculptor Aleksandar Zarin in 1987 (Photo 12), which serves as the centerpiece for the memorial area. Rendered in bronze, this expressive work stands roughly 3m tall and takes on a flowing and undulating abstract shape that some sources describe as a stylized outstretched arm and hand that is reaching up into the sky.


Photo 12: Here we see a photo from 2020 showing the central sculpture of the Red Army and Partisan Cemetery of Fallen Fighters

Originally, if one is standing in front of Zarin's memorial sculpture, to the left was a set of four bronze plates that were inscribed with the names of the Red Army & Partisan fighters who were interred in the crypt. In addition, above these plates was also originally a larger inscription (written in Serbian, Croatian and Hungarian) that read, when translated into English, as "They gave their lives for the freedom of their homeland". However, in the post-Yugoslav era, this set of plates and inscriptions were destroyed, with much of the rest of the complex left in a dilapidated and neglected state. Meanwhile, Zarin's sculpture was left tarnished and covered in graffiti. It was not until 2020 that work began on the complete restoration and rehabilitation of this complex, funded through a grant made by the Russian Embassy in Belgrade. Work on this project was carried out by the Subotica Inter-Municipal Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments. Reports as of late 2023 show that the work on this project is nearly complete, with all of the stolen and destroyed inscribed plates and engravings fully restored. Furthermore, all of the graffiti and tarnish have also recently been cleaned from the sculpture. On a final note, I have yet to find any reports or articles indicating that commemorative events or ceremonies have been held here in recent years. The exact coordinates for this memorial cemetery are N45°50'21.6", E20°27'12.4".

Other Notable Yugoslav-era Sites in Kikinda:

In this section, we will examine additional Yugoslav-era sites that are notable for either their sculptural, architectural or cultural value. Such sites will include the Monument to Jovan Popović, the Monument to 1936 Brick Workers' Strike, the grand Hotel Narvik, as well as the “Terra” Sculpture Park.

Memorial to Jovan Popović:

In the center of the Kikinda, just across the main City Square from the National Museum, stands a memorial statue to one of Kikinda's greatest historic residents: poet Jovan Popović. Born in Kikinda in 1905, early in his life he began to experiment with writing and poetry, which led him down the pathway of neo-Romanticism and experimental forms of writing such as Expressionism, which was pioneering for Serbia during the 1920s. He continued to write poetry even during WWII, while he was fighting for the Partisans. After the war, he published the collection of short stories "True Legends", which detailed his exploits during the war. Popović was intent on documenting the heroic stories of ordinary citizens who demonstrated their bravery while fighting for the revolution. He tragically passed away in 1950 at the young age of 46 and was buried at Belgrade's "Alley of Distinguished Citizens" at the New Cemetery.


Photo 13: A photo of the Memorial to Jovan Popović in Kikinda. Credit: Vlado ST

Soon after his passing in 1950, a statue dedicated to Popović was erected at the center of Kikinda, created by Vojvodina sculptor Aleksandar Zarin. A lifesize bronze figure standing upon a tall pedestal, Zarin portrays Popović staring out into the distance thoughtfully, holding a book to his chest. This statue is from the early figurative period of Zarin's career, before he transitioned his style to abstract sculptural forms in the early 1960s. Since its creation and up to the present day, the statue stands as one of the most important symbols of the city of Kikinda. Its exact coordinates are N45°49'47.3", E20°27'55.3".

Brickworkers' Strike Monument:

Situated at the southeast edge of Kikinda, standing just next to the Football Stadium FK ŽAK, is the Monument to the 1936 Brickworkers' Strike (Photo 14). While I was not able to find any information on this particular strike, Kikinda has long been a significant brick producer and, as such, it is not surprising that a workers' strike would have occurred during this very turbulent time in history, especially one instigated by the KPJ-inspired workers' rights movements that were prevalent around the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the inter-war period.

In 1986, this monument was erected in honor of the 1936 strike, created by sculptor Miroslav Kojić. It stands as a 1.5m tall bronze rectangle sculptural composition, texturized with protruding elements. Today it sits largely overgrown with weeds and forgotten. Its exact coordinates are N45°49'18.7", E20°28'27.4".


Photo 14: A vintage image of the Monument to the 1936 Brickworkers' Strike

Hotel Narvik:

Placed right in the center of Kikind on the main City Square, in front of the Statue of Jovan Popović, is the immense "Hotel Narvik". Created in 1980 by famed Serbian architect Ivan Antić (one of the greatest modernist architects of Yugoslavia), Hotel Narvik originally stood as a giant in this small city (Photo 15). Crafted from red Kikinda brick, the complex is composed of a sprawling set of three broad levels that rise up into a narrow 10-floor tower topped off with a mansard roof. Similar to Antić's "Hotel Breza" he created in Vrnjačka Banja four years earlier, he shows a mastery of integrating grand contemporary structures into the historic traditional framework of the city. The name of the hotel "Narvik" is an ode to the Norwegian city of Narvik, which was where dozens of Kikinda citizens were deported to during WWII by the Nazis, where they toiled themselves to death in forced labor camps. As such, this hotel served as a sort of reminder of that tragic point in the city's history.

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Photo 15: A vintage postcard view of Hotel Narvik in Kikinda, Serbia.

With roughly 100 rooms (180 beds), multiple restaurants, a congress hall, pool, gym, sauna, and parking garage, this was unquestionably the most luxurious and modern hotel in the Banat region when it was unveiled in 1980, serving as both a tourist destination and a cultural meeting point for locals. Sources say it was also the only hotel in Vojvodina with a 4-star rating, while also recounting that it was here that famous Serbian folk singer Lepa Brena got her start performing. After the dismantling of Yugoslavia, the condition of the hotel fell into steep decline through the 1990s and early 2000s, with it ultimately being privatized and sold off to Serbian businessmen, primarily Nebojša Petrić and Zoran Milešević. Hotel Narvik ceased operations and closed down around 2008, citing that it was to undergo renovations and upgrades. However, since then, little work has been done and the building has remained closed and shuttered up to the present day in 2024, having sat vacant and derelict for nearly 16 years now. With newspapers describing its current state as a "mockery", locals hope that the hotel will at some point be renovated and brought back to its former glory, as it stands as part of Kikinda's history and heritage. Hotel Narvik's exact coordinates are N45°49'45.6", E20°27'57.5".

"Terra" Sculpture Park:

Positioned on the eastern edge of Kikinda is the town's old disused “Toza Marković”  brickworks factory. The production of terracotta bricks, pottery and art in this region of Serbia goes back centuries, even as far back as the ancient Roman period and earlier. As such, this rich cultural history made it seem natural to local Kikinda artist Slobodan Kojić to establish, in 1982, an art colony in his town dedicated to terracotta art. Naming it the “International Symposium of Large-Scale Terracotta Sculpture” (or “Terra” for short), Kojić set up the colony in this old brick factory (Photo 15) (which was built in the 1890s and had formerly been the largest brick factory in Yugoslavia until new modern facilities were constructed in the early 1980s). The clay from the nearby clay pits (from which the terracotta works are made) is so pure in its composition that it can be taken right from the ground without processing, making it a rare resource. 

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Photo 15: A view of the exterior of the Terra Museum, Kikinda.


Photo 16: A view of the interior of the Terra Museum located in Kikinda, Serbia. Credit: Miloš Janjatović

The first symposium was attended by just one artist, Serbian sculptor Velimir Vukićević, and, with its success, many more followed. Over the decades, the symposium has hosted over 250 artists from over 40 countries, producing over 137 terracotta works in the outdoor sculpture park and an additional 452 works in the indoor gallery inside the old factory. Sources relate that many of the visiting artists attending the symposium have no prior history working in the medium of terracotta, as such, many learn skills on-site from expert craftsmen and industrial technicians on how to work the material.

This symposium is unique in that it is one of the few, if only, international events focused on the medium of terracotta, while the sculpture collection itself is without a doubt one of the largest in the world. The efforts of Kojić, who continues to promote and operate the colony up to the present day, are pivotal in preserving the cultural heritage of terracotta art and spreading the skills of its creation around the world through his symposium (which is held every July). The official website for the Terra museum and park can be found at THIS link. An excellent detailed article about the Terra Sculpture Park can be found at The Nutshell Times. The museum and park are open to the public and maintain regular hours, Tues-Sat. Admission is 150RSD. You can also purchase clay here to make your own terracotta sculptures, as well as take classes.

"Galacka" Housing Block:

In the late 1970s, an effort by the city of Kikinda was put forward towards redeveloping much of its central core. The commission for this project went to the Belgrade architects Predrag Cagić & Borivoje Jovanović, with work beginning in 1977. The parts of the development project included a settlement called "Mikro-naselje", a commercial building known as "ZOIL", but the most remarkable creation by these two architects was a housing-commercial block known as "Galacka" (named after the nearby river) (Photo 17). The inspiration for the Galacka development came from the work Cagić & Jovanović had done just a few years before in 1974, where they designed the famous New Belgrade neighborhood "Blok 19a", for which they garnered much acclaim. With Galacka, just as with "19a", Cagić & Jovanović stepped away from the non-descript concrete highrises typical of previous decades of Yugoslav architecture and instead embraced the idea of architectural regionalism.


Photo 17: A vintage view of the Galacka Housing Block in Kikinda.

The complex is characterized firstly by its red brick construction, a material that not only exudes warmth but is also connected to the cultural history of Kikinda (enhancing the regionality of the architecture). Secondly, the form of Galacka is varied and staggered, imbuing the apartment block with deeper levels of complexity and personality. Lastly, the most striking feature of the complex is its dramatic sloping red tile rooflines, which serve as a tasteful and localized alternative to the flat featureless roof concrete tower blocks seen so often during the 1960s in Yugoslavia. Furthermore, along the ground level of the complex are scattered spaces for commercial endeavors, allowing residents maximum flexibility for living, shopping and working. For their work on this Kikinda redevelopment project, Cagić & Jovanović both were bestowed with the "Borba" Award for excellence in architecture in 1983 (the highest professional recognition in Yugoslavia). The Galacka block continues to stand in good condition and is cherished as an iconic part of the community of Kikinda. Its exact coordinates are N45°49'42.4", E20°27'42.1".

Other Sites in the Kikinda Region:

  • Monument to the Mokrin Partisan Detachment: Roughly 13km north of Kikinda is the small village of Mokrin. Situated in the center of the village, in front of the post office, is a monument dedicated to the Mokrin Partisan Detachment, which was formed in the aftermath of the destruction of the Kikinda Partisan Detachment in August of 1941 by a German Army ambush at "Simićev Salaš". Created in 1978 by local Kikinda sculptor Slobodan Kojić, the monument consists of a ~2m tall block of white marble carved into a stylized winged angel figure (Photo 18). The work is well maintained and continues to be honored by the local community. Its exact coordinates are N45°56'02.4", E20°24'36.1".


Photo 18: Mokrin Partisan Detach. Mon. in Mokrin [source]


Photo 19: Mon. to Fallen Fighters at Rusko Selo.

  • Monument to Fallen Fighters at Rusko Selo: Driving approximately 13km southeast from Kikinda will bring you to the small village of Rusko Selo. At the center of the village, within the main park, is situated a monument dedicated to the local fighters and civilian victims who perished during WWII (Photo 19). The monument consists of a flat pointed concrete slab (roughly 6m tall) that is adorned with a bronze sculptural relief depicting the classic Partisan motif of the wounded fighter being carried. This was one of the most popular motifs seen in Partisan memorial art across Yugoslavia. The monument is in good shape and continues to host commemorative events. It was unveiled in 1961 and created by a sculptor credited in sources as "S. Dukić". The exact coordinates for this monument in Rusko Selo are N45°45'30.1", E20°34'35.4".

  • Monument to the Resistance in Ada: About 32km east of Kikinda is the town of Ada, Serbia. At the center of this town in "Srpski Park", just next to the Catholic Church, is a memorial sculptural composition known as the "Monument to Resistance/Spomenik otporu" (Photo 20). The work commemorates all of the local Partisan fighters who rose up against the oppression of Axis occupation during WWII, as well as commemorating all those local civilian victims who suffered and perished. This work was created in 1961 by notable Vojvodina sculptor Aleksandar Zarin, who also created the Monument to Victims of Fascism in Kikinda the exact same year. And like his monument in Kikinda, Zarin's work here at Ada is also highly modern in its form. However, while his Kikinda work still remained within the realm of figurative depicture, his work here at Ada was completely abstract with no figurative component whatsoever. As such, this is undoubtedly among, or perhaps first, WWII monuments in Vojvodina to be completely abstract in nature. It stands as a ~5-6m tall arrangement of bronze shapes, lines and angular formations combined to form a piercing metal tower. Resembling farm implements being thrust into the air, the sculpture symbolizes the participants of the uprising and resistance (largely farmers and peasants) using their everyday tools, such as pitchforks, sickles & sythes, as the only weapons they had available with which to fight. The work continues to exist in good condition up to the present day and continues to host commemorative events. Its exact coordinates are N45°47'47.1", E20°08'05.0".


Photo 20: A view of the Monument to Resistance in Ada.


Photo 21: A view of monument at Bašaid

  • Monument to the Fighters of the People's Liberation Struggle: Driving approximately 23km south of Kikinda will bring you to the small village of Bašaid. In the center of the village, one will find the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, across from which is a park that contains a monument dedicated to the fighters of the "People's Liberation Struggle" (the Yugoslav-era name for the domestic events of WWII). This monument consists of a stone memorial wall and a tall stone obelisk (Photo 21). Unveiled in 1967, this monument was the work of architect Bojan Bon and famous sculptor Radeta Stanković (who was the author of the Žarko Zrenjanin monument in Zrenjanin [1952], as well as the Dockworker's Monument in Belgrade [1952]). For this monument at Bašaid, Stanković's centerpiece is a bronze sculptural relief of a dynamic rendition of a grenade thrower (bombaši) in action, about to hurl a grenade at an enemy position. The monument continues to exist in good condition up to the present day. Its exact coordinates are N45°38'34.3", E20°24'53.0".


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