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Majdanpek (Мајданпек)

Brief Details:

Name: Monument to the Liberators of Majdanpek (Споменик ослободиоцима Мајданпека)

Location: Majdanpek, Serbia

Year completed: 1983

Designer: Vojislav Vasiljević

Coordinates: N44°25'43.3", E21°56'34.4" (click for map)

Dimensions: ~15m tall monolith

Materials used: Poured concrete and rebar

Condition: Abandoned



This spomenik at Majdanpek, Serbia commemorates the fallen soldiers and civilians from the greater region who perished during the course of the National Liberation War.

World War II

As old Yugoslavia was dismantled with the Axis invasion in April of 1941, the Germans set up the region of Serbia into an area called the "Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia", which was under the supreme control of its appointed military commander, Serbian Nazi-collaborator Milan Nedić. Majdanpek, along with the rest of Serbia, came under brutal occupation from its German oppressors (Photo 1). The city of Majdanpek, a strong copper/gold mining town nestled in the Timok frontier's Homolje mountains, had all of its mines and resources taken over by the Germany Army to use towards their war efforta, while forcing all of the mine's workers to continue toiling in the ore pits for German benefit.

Directions to the monument at the Majdanpek WWII spomenik complex.

Photo 1: German soldiers in occupied Majdanpek, 1941

In July of 1941, a Serbian occupation-resistance movement started in Bela Crkva, Serbia, which then spread across much of the rest of the country. Many Serbs and oppressed civilians in Majdanpek began to join the region's organized anti-occupation resistance movements, such as the communist-led Partisans and the Serbian royalist Chetniks. While the rebels attempted to wrestle control of the town Majdanpek away from the Germans, their initial attempts were unsuccessful. In retaliation, the German occupiers sent thousands of dissidents and civilians across the region to forced labor and internment camps at the mines in Majdanpek and the nearby city of Bor. As the war came to an end, many of these prisoners working the mines were executed. Majdanpek was finally liberated in October of 1944 during the Belgrade Offensive, when Red Army troops crossed into Serbia just east of the city, freeing towns from German control along their way to Belgrade.

Spomenik Construction

During the period of the late 1970s, the city authorities of Majdanpek were exploring options in regard to the creation of a grand monument for the city to commemorate the region's Partisan fighters and victims who perished during WWII. In order to decide upon a design concept for this monument project, these city authorities appealed to the Association of Fine Artists of Applied Arts and Designers of Serbia, who organized a design competition in late 1979 with the goal of finding the most monumental and artistically appropriate solution. After all the proposals were submitted, a public exhibition was organized in both Majdanpek and Donji Milanovac where locals could come to view and examine each entry (Photo 2). During these exhibitions, all locals were given the opportunity to vote on the proposal that they felt was the optimal monumental solution for their community. The authors of each proposal were also present during the public exhibition, making themselves available to answer questions posed to them about their concepts by the voting citizenry. Ultimately, after the submitted votes were tallied, it was the concept put forward by Serbian sculptor Vojislav Vasiljević that won the design competition (who himself had created several monuments in the past at locations such as Kruge, Croatia and Struga, Macedonia). After the end of the competition, the local populace funded the construction of the monument through donations over the subsequent four years.


Photo 2: A newspaper photo of the 1979 competition for the Majdanpek monument


Photo 3: An image of the Majdanpek monument under construction


Photo 4: An image of the Majdanpek monument under construction


Photo 5: An image of the 1983 unveiling ceremony of the Majdanpek monument

The location chosen for constructing this new Partisan monument was a hillside site to the northeast edge of Majdanpek (within the neighborhood of "Brdo") overlooking a newly built middle school and just below a recently established cemetery complex. Work began on the project in early 1980 and lasted roughly three years (Photos 3 & 4). Construction consisted of workers creating wooden forms in the shape of the monument within a towering scaffolding platform. Structural arteries of steel rebar were then laced through the wooden forms. Within these rebar-laced forms, concrete was poured to create the shape of the sculpture. The finished monument (which is often referred to as the "Monument of the Liberators") was unveiled to the public in October of 1983 (marking the 39th anniversary of the liberation of Majdanpek), an event which was celebrated with a large commemorative ceremony (Photo 5). The primary elements created for this monument site were the central concrete obelisk (standing roughly 15m tall) and a modest 3m tall memorial wall containing bronze plates that bear the names of regional victims from WWII. In addition, a semi-circular stepped amphitheatre was constructed just next to the memorial obelisk.


Photo 6: A late 1980s photo of the Monument to the Liberators in Majdanpek. Credit: CCN Images

Yugoslav-era to Present Day

In the era of Yugoslavia, the Monument of the Liberators was a much beloved and important cultural site within the greater Majdanpek region (Photo 6), particularly as it was a work chosen by and funded by the people of the area. Yet, despite this local prominence, the end of the Yugoslav era led to the monument being reduced to a state of dereliction and disrepair, with all its bronze plates being stolen, many elements destroyed and nearly all the surfaces of the site covered in graffiti and spray paint. Furthermore, the years after the dismantling of Yugoslavia resulted in a discontinuation of any nature of commemorative events or remembrance ceremonies being held here, as I was not able to find any evidence, news articles or reports that such activities were still being held here.

In addition, it was not until late 2023 that I was even able to establish the author and year of creation of this monument complex, after years of local inquiries and research efforts by myself and others into the matter. Such realities reflect the level to which local memory about this monument has dissipated and subsided over recent decades.

Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:

No engraved or inscribed memorial elements here at the Majdanpek monument currently exist. All of the site's plaques, markers and engravings which once were situated at this site have either been stolen or destroyed. Directly behind the monument, there is a memorial wall (Slide 1), which once had a series of plaques attached to it. In Slide 2 you can see the outline of where they once would have been. I have seen no historic photos of these bronze plates, so, what sort of engravings or inscriptions existed here (and what they may have said or depicted), at this point is completely unknown. 

In addition, the entire spomenik complex here is covered in graffiti (Slide 3). While there is certainly a great deal of it, no graffiti I saw seemed to communicate any sort of nationalistic or political messages.



In my research on this spomenik complex here in Majdanpek, I was not able to find any information on the symbolic significance of the site's primary sculptural monument. However, from examining the shape of this work, some assumptions can be made about the symbolic gestures being communicated by the author. This work was created by Serbian sculptor Vojislav Vasiljević, whose monumental works all contain similar typologies of a force "bursting from the earth", as well as "action and immediacy" (Photo 7).


Photo 7: A photo of the Monument to Fallen Fighters in Kruge, Croatia by Vojislav Vasiljević.

The physical illustration of the Monument of the Liberators forcefully emerging from the ground speaks to the nature of the Partisan fighters' rebellious efforts that sprung from a groundswell of popular support and action among the people of this region against fascism and violent occupation. As such, the abstract form radiating from the hillside can be interpreted as a sculptural manifestation of revolutionary efforts in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds and a formidable adversary. The obelisk is sharp and well-defined, it points optimistically toward the sky and even reaches out diagonally beyond its own footprint, appearing to defy gravity and demonstrating its unwillingness to be contained. Across the Yugoslav region, many monuments are built in such a way as to seemingly defy gravity and stand when all our senses say they should fall. This visual incongruity symbolizes the Partisan Army achieving the impossible... going up against the Axis Powers, a much larger force armed with superior firepower, not only do the Partisans remain standing, but they win the day. Furthermore, this dramatic leaning of the sculpture communicates to the viewer an atmosphere of unease and tension with its precarious positioning, leaving us in a state of mind akin to the Partisans who were themselves marching into an uncertain future.

Meanwhile, another interesting symbolic aspect of this monument to examine is its dramatically tapered base. This flaired skirt around the base of the sculpture makes the work appear almost like the trunk of a tree. Such symbolism insinuates the monument itself has roots that stretch into the ground far beyond what we can see. As such, seeing the towering obelisk as a embodiment of domestic revolutionary action, we thus can understand its origin as far beyond just this location, but instead stretching out all across the landscape, to ever valley, mountain top and field across the region. In other words, the revolution was always within the land, the people of Yugoslavia were merely expressions of it.

Status and Condition:

This memorial complex, and all of the elements associated with it, appear completely abandoned and forgotten by the local community and the municipality of Majdanpek. No signs point to this site, no information exists informing visitors of the site's importance and no efforts are made by the city to promote or advertise the memorial as a point of interest or attraction. There are no indications that any people from either inside or outside the community visit or pay respects to this monument, as I found no honorific wreaths, candles or flowers of any sort upon my most recent visit. There are no signs or directiona markers along the main road pointing visitors in the direction of the monument. It appears the only people who do come to this site are the vandals and thieves who destroy it, with the occasional curious visitor looking to investigate its history and meaning. I found no indications or documentation that any nature of commemorative or remembrance events are held here any longer, nor were there any signs that the city of Majdanpek (or any other groups, for that matter) are investing any efforts to restore or rehabilitate this complex. Very little information is available about the history of this memorial complex.

Additional Sites in the Majdanpek Area:

This section will explore additional Yugoslav-era historical, cultural and memorial sites which exist in the greater area of Majdanpek, Serbia. The two sites which will be explored are the Memorial Fountain to Fallen Fighters in the town center, along with the monument on the banks of the Danube in Donji Milanovac.

City Center Memorial Fountain:

In the city center of Majdanpek there is located a memorial fountain, situated in a square in front of the Magistrate's Court building and the Cultural Center, which is dedicated to the town's local fallen fighters who fought and perished during WWII. Built in 1961, the memorial consists of a thin and pointed copper spire that extends roughly ~15m into the sky (Slides 1 - 3). Around the sculpture is a rectangular pool and spouts from the spire spray water into the pool. During the Yugoslav-era and up until present-day, this monument has come to stand as a central symbol for the town of Majdanpek, as well as an identifying marker for the town's many miners and industrial workers. In 2017 the monument underwent an extensive restoration process, during which it was completely rebuilt and all the weathered copper was replaced with new bright and polished copper panels. The fountain continues to operate and the structure is now well maintained.

 City Center Memorial Fountain - Slideshow

The exact coordinates for the monument are N44°25'21.1", E21°56'10.9". In Slides 4 & 5 you can see historical images of the monument site from the 1960s and 70s.

Monument in Donji Milanovac:

Less than a 30km drive down the mountains to the northeast over the Đerdap National Park and down to the Danube River you will find the small tourist town of Donji Milanovac. Situated right on the banks of the Danube you will find in this quaint hamlet a substantial monument which is dedicated to the fallen fights of WWII/NOB (Slides 1 & 2). Created in 1983 by sculptor who is indicated on a plaque at the site only as "M. Gojković" (Slide 3), the work is characterized by a 19m tall thin spire of five stainless steel tubes around which is a circular concrete courtyard with built-in seating.  There are several plaques here at the site which contain inscriptions of dozens of names of local fighters who perished during the war (Slides 4 & 5). One of these plaques was even installed as recently as 2015, more than likely to update the site with recently found records. The memorial complex exists in a reasonable state of condition and appears to be well maintained by the local authorities.

 Monument at Donji Milanovac - Slideshow

The exact coordinates for the monument are N44°27'59.3", E22°09'01.7". If you are visiting Donji Milanovac to see this monument, there are several other interesting cultural and historical sites to visit in this area of the Danube River, such as the Iron Gates Gorge, the Lepenski Vir archeological site, the rock tower sculpture of the Dacian king Decabal, as well as the impressive Golubac Fortress.

And Additional Sites of Interest:

  • Hotel Kasina: As the city of Majdanpek underwent significant mining industrialization in the 1950s and 60s, a great amount of new infrastructure was built to service all these new miners and professionals. As a result of this development, Hotel "Kasina" was built in during the 1960s (Photo 8), situated right on the main city square. Originally it was a modest establishment, built in a fashion similar to the International Style of architecture. As a consequence of its success during the 60s and 70s, a new large tower addition to the hotel was built in the late 1970s. However, the hotel fell on hard times after its privatization in the post-Yugoslav era. As a consequence, it shut down in the 2000s and re-opened awhile later as the "Golden Inn" Hotel. It is still in operated at present, being the only hotel in the town of Majdanpek. The official website for the Golden Inn can be found at THIS link, while its exact coordinates are N44°25'19.3", E21°56'11.8".

Spomen-dom1 (Hotel Kasina).jpg

Photo 8: Hotel "Kasina", 1970s

Spomen-dom1 (Hotel Kasina).jpg

Photo 9: Majdanpek House of Youth, 1970s

  • The Majdanpek House of Youth: Originally built in 1974 and situated on Majdanpek's City Square directly next to (and connected to) Hotel Kasina was the House of Youth (Dom omladine) of Majdanpek (Photo 9). This hexagon-shaped complex (which often gets referred to as 'UFO-like') was very ambitiously designed and was one of the most highly modernist buildings in Majdanpek when it was completed. Upon its unveiling, its two upper levels of wrap-around windows were outfitted with bright orange curtains to complement the color trim of the hotel next door. In 2003, the complex rebranded itself as the "Cultural Center of Majdanpek". The center continues to operate to the present day, being used for various community functions, such as theatre, art shows and other cultural events. Sadly, the building's distinct orange curtains no longer grace the building's windows. The official Facebook page for the center can be found at THIS link, while its exact coordinates are N44°25'20.8", E21°56'12.5".

  • Rajkova pećina: Located roughly 2km is a unique cave system called Rajkova pećina (Rajko's Cave). The cave opened as a tourist attraction to the public in 1974 and has since been one of the area's most visited sites. It is often considered one of the most remarkable cave systems in Serbia. An article about the cave system on Serbia's tourist web portal can be found at THIS link, while its exact coordinates are N44°26'28.9", E21°57'11.0".


Getting to the memorial site here at Majdanpek, Serbia is slightly tricky, so it is important to follow these navigation instructions. From the town center of Majdanpek at the Church of St. Peter and Paul, follow Saint Sava St. (Svetog Sava) north uphill and as you make your first curve, the name of the street will change to Kapetanska road. Then, as you continue to head up the hill roughly 1km, you will see a green sign pointing towards the "Sports Centre 6th August" on the right (Photo 10). As you see the sign, take the left turn onto the road directly across from this sign. Follow this road about 200m and you'll see a gravel parking spot just past the abandoned school (Photo 11). The exact coordinates for parking are N44°25'41.5", E21°56'37.0". Then, simply follow the old pathway up the hill to the spomenik complex.

Majdanpek MAP2.jpg

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Directions to the monument at the Majdanpek WWII spomenik complex.

Photo 10: Left turn towards monument off Kapetanska Rd.

Directions to the monument at the Majdanpek WWII spomenik complex.

Photo 11: Parking for monument next to abandoned school


Please feel free to leave a message if you have any comments, if you have any questions, if you have corrections or if you have any additional information or insight you feel might be appropriate or pertinent to this spomenik's profile page.

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