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Brief Details:

Name: Mausoleum to Partisan Fighters (Маузолеј партизанским борцима/Mauzolej partizanskim borcima)

Location: Podgorica, Montenegro (formerly "Titograd")

Year completed: 1957

Designer(s): sculptor Drago Đurović & architect Vojislav Đokić (with Dušan Ivanišević)

Coordinates: N42°26'58.4", E19°15'57.8"

Dimensions: ~10m tall x 8m long

Materials used: white limestone blocks

Condition: Very good to excellent




This article explores the history and heritage of the Mausoleum to Fallen Partisan Fighters located on Gorica Hill in Podgorica, Montenegro, which contains the remains of 68 fallen Partisan heroes and is dedicated to the thousands who perished during WWII at the hands of fascist occupiers.

World War II

Turmoil and conflict struck the city of Podgorica in April of 1941 when Italian and other Axis forces invaded and conquered the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After that point, the region of Montenegro, which had until then existed as a province in the Yugoslav Kingdom called 'Zeta Banovina', was then transformed by the Italians into the 'Kingdom of Montenegro', which acted as an Italian vassal state under the control of an Italian regent governor. Large numbers of the people of Montenegro were extremely displeased with this occupation and foreign control and thus, starting on July 13th & 14th of 1941, Montenegrins across the country began to rise up against this Italian occupation. Within three weeks, these resistance groups had liberated nearly the entire region from Axis control. Yet, within six weeks, Italy's Mussolini retaliated by sending a force of nearly 90,000 troops from the Mentasti's XIV Corps, who brutally crushed this uprising. During this Italian backlash, the resistance was destroyed, with nearly 10,000 rebels killed across Montenegro and over 20,000 interned at camps -- these numbers included many citizens from Golubovci and the Podgorica region.

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Photo 1: Bombing of occupied Podgorica by Allied forces, 1944 [source]

After quelling this popular revolt, the Italians exerted total control over Podgorica for nearly two year. However, by September 1943, the Italians had surrendered to the Allies in the Armistice of Cassibile, which resulted in the Italians retreating from Montenegro altogether. As a consequence, the region was then re-occupied by the German Army by October 1943. Upon occupying Podgorica, German troops recognized the city's strategic location and its potential to be utilized it as a supply route for its more southerly military positions in Albania and Greece. As a result, German Army convoys began to pass in and out of Podgorica at an ever-increasing rate from early 1944 onward. The leader of the 'Partisan' anti-Axis resistance group in Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, sent word to the US and British Allied Air Forces about the increased activity of German convoys moving through Podgorica and recommended to them that the city be targeted with a bombing campaign to prevent the movement of German troops and armaments.

The first Allied bombing targets in the Podgorica region, which began on October 25th, 1943, were at the Golubovci Airport, which the German Luftwaffe were utilizing for their own airborne bombing campaigns. From here, the airport and the city of Podgorica were bombed repeatedly through the course of the remainder of the war (Photo 1). The most intense bombing of the Allied campaign occurred on May 5th, 1944, when over 270 tonnes of bombs were dropped over Podgorica. The bombing of German positions continued even during the Germans' retreat out of the region in late 1944. The city of Podgorica was finally liberated on December 19th of 1944 by units of the 1st Bokel Strike Brigade, the Montenegrin Strike Brigade, as well as members of the Lovcen and Zeta NOP detachments, who all pushed out the last remaining remnants of the German 181st Infantry Division. In the aftermath war and the bombing campaign, roughly 90% of the city of Podgorica was leveled to the ground (Photo 2), while nearly 5,000 fighters and civilians were killed. After the war, on July 13th, 1946 (Uprising Day), the city of Podgorica officially changed its name to 'Titograd' to pay tribute to the Partisan military commander and now Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito (Photo 3).

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Photo 2: A photo of bombing damage in Podgorica, 1944 [source]


Photo 3: An early photo showing a car entering a newly named Titograd, Montenegro. [source]

While every one of the republics in Yugoslavia had its respective "Tito Town" (where a town's name was changed to honor Tito), such as Titov Veles in Macedonia and Titov Drvar in Bosnia, the city of Titograd was the only one which was solely and primarily dedicated to Tito himself, as "Titograd" literally means "Tito's City". In addition to the name of the city being changed to Titograd on July 13th, 1946, on this very same day the city was also made the new capital of the SR of Montenegro, moving it to Titograd from the mountain town of Cetinje, the old historic capital during both the Kingdom of Montenegro and the period of the Zeta Province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Josip Broz Tito himself was present for this massive event and honor of the city being named after him and Titograd becoming the republic's new capital. During his speech, he pledged to rebuild the demolished and bombed-out city, that he would do everything within his power to make it a thriving bustling capital.

Spomenik Construction

On July 13th, 1951, the 10th anniversary of Montenegro's uprising against fascist occupation, plans were set in motion towards the goal of creating a large-scale memorial object within Titograd to commemorate the Partisan fighters who fought for and liberated the city. The initiative to organize the construction of this monument was spearheaded by the veterans group SUBNOR, while the project itself was financed by the government of the SR of Montenegro. After a design competition was convened to select a form for the monument, the concept chosen by the selection committee was a proposal put forward by sculptor Drago Đurović and architect Vojislav Đokić. The young sculptor Đurović was an academic artist from nearby Danilovgrad, while Đokić was a Belgrade-born designer who had trained at the Beaux-Arts School in Paris. This monument would be both Đurović's and Đokić's first major project. Work on the monument began in 1953, with the location selected for the monument chosen to be on the side slope of Gorica Hill just on the edge of the city, the location in which the original name of the city originates (as "Podgorica" literally means "Under the Hill").


Photo 4: A vintage photo of the monument's unveiling ceremony on Gorica Hill in 1957.

At the time of the construction of the monument in the mid-1950s, the hill was largely free of trees, as such, the monument was constructed in such a way that it could be easily seen from the center of Titograd, with a processional stairway descending down the hill pointing directly towards at the city's main square. The Gorica Hill monument was finally unveiled after 4 years of work on July 13th (Montenegro Uprising Day) of 1957. Thousands of people from all over the region came to attend the event (Photo 4). A keynote address was given by Vojo Biljanović, vice president of the Executive Council of the People's Republic of Montenegro, who also read to the crowd a telegram sent personally by Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito to send his tidings for the event. A video taken of this 1957 inaugural ceremony is available to watch at the Internet Archive at THIS link. The monument that was constructed by Đurović & Đokić was a roughly 10m tall classically-inspired temple-like canopy structure crafted from white limestone blocks from the nearby quarries at Spuž. While classical in inspiration, the canopy's architecture is modern with its simplified form and reduced adornments.

Then, beneath the stone canopy is an open mausoleum crypt that can be accessed through a lower doorway (Photo 5). Either side of this doorway is flanked by two large figurative sculptures of Partisans that were crafted by Drago Đurović (with assistance from sculptor Dušan Ivanišević). These two sculptures, which stand roughly 4m tall) are crafted in the Socialist-Realism style and represent the "eternal guard" watching over the remains of the fallen fighters. Within the crypt are laid the remains of 68 revolutionary fighters, of which 66 were designated as Yugoslav National Heroes. A list of these names can be found in THIS article. The interior of the crypt is paneled with plates of an ornate red polish stone, giving the space a very dignified atmosphere. In addition, inscriptions inside the mausoleum relate that this mausoleum space also commemorates 6,790 Partisan fighters who perished across Montenegro during WWII, as well as over 7,479 civilian victims. As such, this stands as a monument for not just the city of Podgorica, but also for all of Montenegro itself. Meanwhile, from the crypt doorway, a long stone-paved processional pathway leads down the hill.


Photo 5: A vintage postcard showing the lower entrance into the monument's mausoleum.


After the construction of the Fighters' Mausoleum here on Gorica Hill, it instantly became one of the most important symbols not only for the city of Titograd, but also for the SR of Montenegro as a whole. It was employed as the central commemorative location for any ceremonies related to honoring Partisan heritage (on Uprising Day and beyond), as well as being used as a place for educating the youth on patriotic history and as a site to perform Tito's Pioneer youth events. Furthermore, the form of the monument was implemented on the city coat of arms for Titograd and it was depicted on nearly every single touristic postcard promoting the city, as well as being immortalized on one of Yugoslavia's primary postage stamps (Photo 6), as part of a 1974 stamp series exhibiting the country's WWII monuments.


Photo 6: A photo of the 1974 Yugoslavia stamp depicting the Partisan Mausoleum.

In an attempt to further beautify the space around the monument on Gorica Hill, the local architect Vukota Tupa Vukotić was commissioned in 1978 to create a forest park at this site. Where it was formerly a treeless landscape, Vukotić cultivated a verdant and naturalistic park setting that brought an atmosphere of greater harmony and contemplation to Gorica Hill. However, this forestation project had the unintended consequence of now making the Fighters' Mausoleum monument not visible from the city center below, which it was originally intended to be. There were plans as part of Vukotić's project to eventually connect the mausoleum to the city center via a promenade to Njegoševa Street, in addition to a landscaped processional walkway that stretched down to the Morača River, where it was meant to connect to a reconstruction of the ancient "Vizer's Bridge" that was destroyed by the Nazi's in 1944. However, these connections from the monument to the city/river were never realized nor was the Vizer's Bridge ever reconstructed to its original form.

End of Yugoslav-era to Present-Day

At the onset of the dismantling of Yugoslavia, the Mausoleum to Partisan Fighters on Gorica Hill did not see the degradation and neglect that many other WWII/NOB monument sites suffered during the period of the 1990s and early 2000s. Yet, the Yugoslav-era name for the city, Titograd, did not last long into this new era. After a referendum, the city's name changed from Titograd back to "Podgorica" on April 2nd, 1992. However, as an interesting aside, it is notable to point out that road signs pointing in the direction of "Titograd" can still be found all across the region (Photo 7). In addition, the Titograd coat of arms (which contained a depiction of the Partisan Mausoleum) was removed and replaced with a new coat of arms for Podgorica in 2006, as it was felt the old version was thought to be "outdated aesthetically". As far as the Partisan Mausoleum was concerned, it continued to be honored and celebrated all during this time period and all the way up to the present day. Annual commemorative events, ceremonies and dignitary visits are routinely hosted here at the mausoleum, as well as protests and political actions.


Photo 7: A 2023 photo I took of a road sign in Ratajska, Serbia.

In 2014, the Montenegrin Ministry of Culture registered the monument under the Law on the Protection of Cultural Property, officially protecting it as a site of national importance. The city of Podgorica also promotes the mausoleum as a local tourist attraction, as well as it being recognized in official publications as a national cultural site.

Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:

There are several prominent inscriptions and engravings here at the Mausoleum to Fallen Fighters on Gorica Hill that bear mentioning. Firstly, underneath the white limestone canopy is a rectangular black granite stone slab (polished and shiny, laying horizontally), that operates as a memorial marker for fallen Partisan Fighters. At the center of this stone slab is a gold-colored inscription written in Cyrillic text (Slide 1), which simply reads, when translated into English, as:

"Partisan Fighters"

Meanwhile, the only other set of inscriptions within this memorial area are found inside the mausoleum space underneath the stone canopy.


As one enters the mausoleum through the primary lower entrance, there are three distinct inscriptions evident on the walls just as you pass through the door, engraved in black lettering directly onto the red marble walls. The mausoleum is generally closed with a metal lattice door, however, the inscriptions can still be easily seen and read through this partition. The first inscription is located directly overhead on a lintel above a portal that takes one deeper into the mausoleum (Slide 2). Also written in Cyrillic script, this inscription reads, when translated into English, as:

"They loved freedom more than life."

Then, on the left frame of this same entrance portal, the next inscription can be found (Slide 3). Also written in Cyrillic script, this inscription reads, when translated into English, as:

"In the People's Liberation Struggle from 1941 to 1945, 6,780 fighters and leaders from Montenegro fell..."

This inscription continues on the right side of the same entrance portal (Slide 4). Also written in Cyrillic script, the inscription reads, when translated into English, as:

"...and 7,479 sons and daughters of the Montenegrin people were killed by fascist occupiers and domestic traitors."


Photo 8: Mausoleum entrance with the emblem of the Order of the National Hero of Yugoslavia.

The last set of inscriptions to mention are the names of the 68 fallen Partisan fighters that mark the locations of each set of these remains, which are visible in Slide 2. Like the above inscriptions, these names are also done in black lettering directly into the red marble panels and are rendered with the Cyrillic script. A list of these names can be found in THIS article.

Meanwhile, just above the exterior entrance portal into the mausoleum space, there is a large inscription of the years "1941-1945" (the years which the war transpired in Yugoslavia), between which is a large relief sculpture of a circular emblem depicting a rifle-toting Partisan fighter waving a Yugoslav flag, all surrounded by a wreath of olive leaves (Photo 8). This emblem is the symbol for the award "Order of the National Hero of Yugoslavia", of which 66 of the 68 interred Partisans inside the mausoleum were recipients. This inscription and relief are carved directly into the surrounding white limestone by Drago Đurović himself.

Finally, with respect to graffiti and defacement, there are no signs such vandalism present across the surfaces of this monument that have been visible in the times that I have visited over the last 5 years.


There is a long tradition through history, reaching back to antiquity, of erecting temples and other stone monuments on prominent hills overlooking one's city. The Mausoleum to Fallen Partisan Fighters on Gorica Hill is part of this tradition. Locating such a structure above one's city makes it immediately visible and recognizable (as it originally was before the hill was grown over with trees), operating as a way to honor those who have fallen in the protection of that city. The temple-like structure of this monument further communicates with antiquity, as it can be immediately likened to something akin to the Parthenon in Athens. In doing so, architectural expressions of sacredness and sanctity can be made to visitors and mourners of this monument without the aid of any contemporary religious symbolism. As such, the universalist secular nature of the Partisan movement is optimally conveyed by the monument's creators.

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Photo 9: Mausoleum entrance with the two "eternal guard" figures out front

The most charismatic elements of this monument site are the two massive 4m tall figurative sculptures placed in front of the entrance to the mausoleum (Photo 9). Carved out of white limestone, these figures gaze out intently from their position, representing the eternal guard forever watching over their fallen comrades. Rendered with sharp detail, both figures hold their rifle down at their legs with a confident grasp of their large hands, while their open shirts reveal their broad muscular chests. The figures are plainly dressed and outfitted, symbolizing the humble origins and working-class backgrounds of most Partisan fighters. Such an emotive and pathos-laden depiction falls in line with the Socialist Realism style, borrowed from the Soviet school of monument creation. In Socialist Realism art, figures were always portrayed in a hyper-heroic fashion, with idealized romanticized features and larger-than-life presentations. Such works were intended to uplift the viewer with optimistic ideals, yet have their minds firmly rooted in socialist ideology by reminding them of all that it has accomplished for them.

Finally, it must be noted to degree to which Drago Đurović's two sculptures here resemble the "The Partisan on Eternal Watch" sculpture at the Liberators of Belgrade Cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia. Created in 1958 by famous Serbian sculptor Radeta Stanković (who himself trained under Ivan Meštrović), it is today among the most recognizable monuments in Belgrade. As such, it would seem that the esteemed sculptor Stanković was very possibly inspired by Đurović's "Eternal Guard" sculptures here at the mausoleum, which were, in fact, Đurović's first public works.

Status and Condition:

The overall state of the Mausoleum to Fallen Partisan Fighters on Gorica Hill in Podgorica can be rated from very good to excellent. All elements of the complex are well-maintained, cleaned, and free of any staining or weathering. Likewise, the grounds around the monument are trimmed and manicured, with no overgrown vegetation or weeds anywhere to be seen. There is no graffiti to be found anywhere around the site and the park surroundings themselves are extremely safe (even at night). There are signs in the vicinity of the park on Gorica Hill pointing visitors in the direction of the monument, while there is also an information board at the bottom of the processional pathway leading up to the mausoleum entrance (Photo 10). However, the text on the board is only presented in the local language, as such, visiting foreign tourists may have trouble understanding what the monument signifies. As far as further promotion, the city of Podgorica advertises the monument on its official tourism page, listing it as a local cultural attraction. Furthermore, the official 2021 Montenegro Tourism Guide also includes the mausoleum as a point of interest.


Photo 10: An informational board at the entrance to the monument.


Photo 11: A 2020 ceremony at the Partisan Mausoleum. [source]

The mausoleum continues to be respected and honored by the city and people of Podgorica, with it hosting regular annual commemorative events and ceremonies (Photo 11), particularly on Uprising Day, July 13th and Victory Over Fascism Day, May 9th. These are attended not only by the local citizenry, but also by local politicians and dignitaries. In fact, foreign ambassadors and officials can routinely be found laying wreaths under the mausoleum's canopy. In addition, local volunteer efforts are regularly organized to help in the cleaning and upkeep of Gorica Hill Park and the mausoleum. While the Partisan Mausoleum was granted in protection as a historic site during the Yugoslav-era several times (in 1957 and in 1962), In 2014, the Ministry of Culture registered the monument under the Law on the Protection of Cultural Property, officially protecting it as a site of national importance under the laws of Montenegro. Furthermore, the mausoleum is recognized as an important part of European WWII heritage, being listed in the notable "Information Portal to European Sites of Remembrance" database.

Additional WWII Sites in Podgorica:

In this section, we will examine additional Yugoslav-era WWII monuments and memorial sites situated in and around the region of Podgorica. While this will not be an exhaustive list, it will include all major locations. Such sites investigated in this section will be the Monument to Fallen Fighters of Momišići, the Monument to Bombing Victims, the Monument to Josip Broz Tito, and the Monument to the Tobacco Monopoly Partisans. 

Monument to Fallen Fighters of Momišići:

Not far from the city center of Podgorica, just over the Millenium Bridge on the west side of the River, is the neighborhood of Momišići. Just next to the "Sutjeska" Elementary School is a monument that is dedicated to 25 local people of the Momišići neighborhood who perished as Partisan fighters during WWII (Photo 12). Unveiled in 1978 to a huge crowd and created by local architect Andrija Markuš, the monument consists of white concrete beams that are laid across each other in a repeating pattern 10 level tall (standing roughly 4-5m tall), which all come together to make a star shape when seen from above. The beams are engraved with the names of the fallen fighters to which the monument is dedicated. On the circular base of the memorial sculpture is an inscription which reads, when translated into English, as: "Freedom! May we have an everlasting and unforgettable memory of the fallen fighters and heroes from Momišići who took part in the People's Liberation Struggle and Revolution of 1941-1945".


Photo 12: A photo of the Monument to Fallen Fighters of Momišići.

Today, the monument sits in good condition and is regularly maintained and commemorated with annual ceremonies. Its exact coordinates are N42°26'48.8", E19°15'15.7".

Monument to Bombing Victims:

In the city center of Podgorica, within the inner courtyard of a commercial/residential block, is situated a monument to the many historic bombing campaigns waged against the city (Photo 13). In WWI and particularly WWII, the city was bombed relentlessly, by both the Axis and Allied sides of the war, so much so that the city was largely left in ruins by the end of 1945. This work was created by local architect Vasilije Knežević and was unveiled on December 19th, 1994, a year that marked the 50th anniversary of the WWII liberation of the city. The monument consists of a red metal pole pyramid frame standing in the middle of the courtyard. From this pyramid is suspended a metal bomb sculpture, positioned as if it is about to strike the city. Directly underneath this bomb sculpture is a circular bronze plate fixed upon a concrete pedestal that bears an inscription that reads, when translated into English, as: "In memory of the innocent victims of the bombing of Podgorica in the First and Second World Wars".


Photo 13: A recent photo of the Monument to Bombing Victims in Podgorica.

The Bombing Victims Monument continues to sit in a good state of repair and also continues to host annual commemorative events and ceremonies. Its exact coordinates are N42°26'25.5", E19°15'58.1".

Monument to Josip Broz Tito:

Within the city of Podgorica is a military barracks known today as "Masline", but which itself was known as the "Barracks of Marshal Tito" during the Yugoslav period. To befit this name, the barracks were gifted one of the original 1948 bronze castings of Antun Augustinčić's famous Tito statue to place in front of their military facility. The statue stood there within the barracks compound at its main circle plaza for decades up until the dismantling of Yugoslavia began in the early 1990s. As a result of this tumultuous transition, the statue was removed from its original setting for security purposes in October of 1993 and relocated to the interior of the barracks within the Memorial Room of the 5th Montenegrin Proletarian Brigade, which existed within the barracks complex. The statue remained in this barrack's memorial room for 25 years until 2018, at which point the mayor of Podgorica Ivan Vuković began to put forward an initiative to relocate this long-languishing Tito statue to a prominent place within the city center.

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Photo 14: A photo of the Tito statue not far from the city center of Podgorica.

When asked about his motivations behind pushing for such a proposal, articles cite Vuković explaining that it is not about being nostalgic about Yugoslavia, but instead showing "proof that Montenegro remains faithful to its anti-fascist orientation". Vuković's initiative passed the Podgorica City Council in October of 2018, at which point the sculpture was moved from the barracks and placed upon a pedestal along St. Peter of Cetinje Boulevard (formerly 'Lenin Boulevard' during the Yugoslav-era) within a park next to Hotel Podgorica along the Morača River (Photo 14). The unveiling ceremony for the statue's new location was held on December 19th, 2018 (which is Podgorica's WWII Liberation Day) and was presided over by Podgorica mayor Ivan Vuković. The setting of the monument is not done in an especially grand or ostentatious manner, as Tito's sculpture is placed only upon a modest 1m tall black stone pedestal within a small understated white gravel square. Furthermore, while the location of the statue is not far at all from the city center, its placement is not within a particularly bustling or high trafficked zone. However, many tourists still seek out the statue to have their photos taken in front of it, while the site also continues to host commemorative events, most notably Tito's birthday on May 25th. The exact coordinates for this monument are N42°26'25.5", E19°15'58.1". For a more detailed history about the dozen-plus casted versions of this statue that still exist across the former Yugoslav region, feel free to explore our article about that topic at THIS link.


Mon. to Tobacco Monopoly Partisans:

During WWII, many working-class individuals toiling away at factories across Yugoslavia joined up with Tito in the popular Partisan uprising against fascist occupation. One such factory in Podgorica that saw hundreds of its workers join the uprising was the Tobacco Monopoly Factory, located at the southwest edge of town. However, by the end of WWII, roughly 74 of these tobacco workers perished. After the war, a monument was erected on the grounds of the factory to commemorate these fallen workers. This memorial was created by the notable Montenegrin architect Svetlana Kana Radević [profile page] and was unveiled in 1967. It consisted of a stone-paved courtyard surrounded by concrete spire sculptural elements and a memorial wall bearing the names of the fallen workers. The original location of this monument within the factory was here: N42°26'19.2", E19°14'20.8". However, in the late 2010s, the old Tobacco Factory was bought by a developer, who intended to tear down the factory to build a series of residential buildings. 


Photo 15: A recent photo of the new location of the Monument to the Tobacco Monopoly Partisans.

As a result of this new residential building project (known as "Central Point" and built by the Zetagradnja company), in 2018, the monument was removed from its old location and given a new home adjacent to the new Tobacco Monopoly Factory on the southern edge of Podgorica in the area of Ćemovsko polje. The monument in its new location was finally unveiled to the public during a ceremony in May of 2019 (Photo 15), with an inaugural address given by the city's mayor, Ivan Vuković. During the transition, the monument was restored and rehabilitated, as it had fallen into poor condition at its previous location. Photos of the relocation and restoration of the monument can be seen at the website of Studio Prostor, the group who undertook this project (financed by Zetagradnja company). The exact coordinates for this new location are N42°25'06.9", E19°15'55.7".

Yugoslav-era Architecture of Podgorica:

In this section, we will examine some of the most notable and culturally significant examples of Yugoslav architecture that manifested during this time period. Some of the sites we will examine will be the "Canaries" Apartment Towers, Hotel Podgorica, Blok 5, and the Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus.

"The Canaries" Apartment Towers:

In the center of Podgorica, is a pair of apartment blocks that stand as the first high-rise buildings ever constructed in Montenegro (Photo 16). Unveiled in 1964 and created by Croatian architect Stanko Fabris, these towers were actually a copy of a single high-rise block that Fabris had completed two years earlier in Split (at the corner of Kneza Višeslava & Marina Držića). These twelve-level towers bear hallmarks of the International Style, but stand out with their playful array of bright yellow panels (with accents of orange and dark blue) as their primary adornment. It was these bright panels that gave birth to the towers’ primary nickname: “Kanarinke” or “The Canaries”. Also interesting in regards to the two buildings is their positioning, as they are oriented 45 degrees askew from the orthogonal street grid that they sit within. The Kanarinke towers were unlike anything Podgorica had ever seen before – in fact, they were so popular and instantly iconic that they were used as promotional attractions on many of the city’s postcards, speaking to the city’s growth and modernity.


Photo 16: A recent photo of The Canaries Apartment Tower in Podgorica.

Intended initially as housing for the JNA, this rigid military usage eventually resulted in the panels getting painted more subdued colors by the late 1970s. However, in 2019, the Kanarinke towers were finally repainted with their original color scheme. In fact, renewed interest in the towers has been catching on in Podgorica after being repainted, for instance, one can now purchase a canvas bag printed with an image of the towers at Crnogorski Ruksak. In addition, for a much more detailed history of these towers, an excellent article by academics from the University of Montenegro can be found HERE. The exact coordinates for these towers are N42°26'26.1", E19°15'55.5".

"Blok 5" Residential Towers:

On the western edge of Podgorica is a residential tower and apartment complex that is known as "Blok 5". The most prominent feature of this block is a group of 5 roughly identical towers, with their characteristic feature being set of protruding rectangular bump-outs (Photo 17). This complex was constructed from 1977 to 1984, with the urban planning done by Vukota Tupa Vukotić and the lead architect being Mileta Bojović. In addition to the towers (which each reach a height of about 16 stories), 8 long strings of shorter apartment units snake through the spaces of Blok 5. The Blok 5 master plan, which was to create 1,800 new apartment units, seems to have been based off of the Le Corbusier "Radiant City" urban planning model, with large tower blocks separated by large green spaces, wide avenues and lots of "free circulation". Schools, shops, and all essential services were included within the block. Similar manifestations of urban planning were implemented countless times in the creation of housing blocks during the Yugoslav-era. 


Photo 17: A recent photo of the Blok 5 residential towers in Podgorica.

Today, Blok 5 is still greatly populated and stands as a significant symbol for the city of Podgorica, but many elements of it exist in a poor condition, especially many of the common areas and courtyards. Blok 5 is located just west of the Podgorica city center, next to the cathedral. The exact coordinates for the center of Blok 5 are N42°26'49.6", E19°14'32.3".

Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus

Nestled within the Podgorica neighborhood of Konik is the imposing concrete edifice of the Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus ("Crkva Presvetog Srca Isusovog"), which is of the Catholic denomination. The original Catholic church of Podgorica was built in 1901 and located closer to the city center, however, this structure was severely damaged in the Allied bombings of the city during WWII and was subsequently demolished. Local authorities in Titograd prohibited the Catholic parish from rebuilding their destroyed church in the city center, as the site was slated to have a new Yugoslav Army House built upon it. However, after years of negotiations (as few churches were built during this period), the parish was granted permission to construct a new church on the city's eastern outskirts. Construction work began on the creation of this new church in 1967 under the design leadership of Zagreb architects Zvonimir Vrkljan & Boris Krstulović. It was unveiled during the summer of 1969 after two years of construction (Photo 18).

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Photo 17: A recent photo of the Blok 5 residential towers in Podgorica.

The Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus is not only unique as far as a work of sacral architecture, it even pushes the envelop of the modernist creations which had been built up until that time in Titograd (of which there were many notable examples for it to compete with). The final product which Vrkljan & Krstulović created was a church space primarily formed of two intersecting sharp triangular bodies crafted from pure bare unadorned concrete, both inside and out. Often described as embodying the dynamic characters "brutalist" architecture, featureless and angular board-formed concrete walls soar to tremendous heights at the church's nave, giving the impression that the ceilings are symbolically opening up to the heavens (emphasized by an unseen skylight). In analyzing his church creation, Krstulović speaks about religion being a very private personal matter, so, as such, explains that he wanted to create a space that was disconnected from its surroundings as a means of enabling the parishioner's spirit to be able to "escape" the church and reach a plane of purer religious transcendence. Next to the church is a 25m tall concrete bell tower which is topped at its apex with a cut-out cross shape formed in negative space. For more info, see this paper by Dragutin Popović. The exact coordinates for the church are N42°26'16.3", E19°16'32.8".


Hotel Podgorica:

Arguably the most architecturally important hotel in Podgorica created during the Yugoslav-era was the charismatic "Hotel Podgorica" (Photo 18), located in the center of the city overlooking the Morača River. Situated on the river's western banks, this vast hotel complex was unveiled in 1967 and created by the famed architect Svetlana Kana Radević [profile page], the first female architect in Montenegro. The hotel is one of the early examples of "critical regionalism" in Yugoslav modernist architecture, which is a movement that emphasized the idea that buildings should pay homage to the local landscape and traditions rather than working against them. In that respect, the structure not only fits itself into steep cliffs of the river valley (instead of trying to transform it), but the hotel's facade itself is adorned with river-rock taken directly from the Morača River. This was one of the earliest works of Yugoslav modernism in the region that attempted to be understood as being uniquely "Montenegrin" in its nature and design.

Hotel Podgorica8.jpg

Photo 18: A vintage photo of Hotel Podgorica in what was then Titograd.


Photo 19: A vintage photo of Hotel Podgorica in what was then Titograd.

Among the most notable elements of the hotel are three levels of sharp angular bare-concrete balconies, which some would describe as being almost 'brutalist' in their styling. These balconies are stacked in a slightly slanted orientation as they dramatically overlook the Morača River valley, with each horizontal section of six balconies intersected by large walls of riverstone. These balconies, set back just a few meters from the river's steep rocky cliffs, almost appear as an upwards continuation of those rocky outcrops themselves. Upon its unveiling in 1968, Radević was bestowed with the "Borba" Award for excellence in architecture (the highest professional recognition in Yugoslavia). While the hotel continues to be fully operational, the hotel's interior underwent an extensive renovation not long after it was privatized in 2004, which resulted in the removal and redesign of much of the interior's original Yugoslav-era furniture, design features and aesthetics.

As part of these renovations, a tall glass facade business tower was built off of the main entrance to the hotel complex (unveiled in 2018), an inclusion that many argue detracts from, what some consider to be, the city's most architecturally important building of the post WWII-era. It is notable to point out that Hotel Podgorica is not yet protected as a national cultural heritage site. The hotel's official website can be found at THIS link, while its exact coordinates are N42°26'20.7", E19°15'24.7".


And Additional Sites of Interest:

  • Podgorica Bus Terminal: Not far from the center of Podgorica, right next to the train station, is the city's central Bus Terminal (Photo 20). Built in 1968 by Montenegrin architect  Svetlana Kana Radević [profile page], the design of this swooping concrete and glass structure, with its dominantly flaring ornamental canopy panels, was no doubt a nod to Le Corbusier’s "Palace of Assembly" in Chandigarh, India. The station mirrors Hotel Podgorica in that it is also made of raw concrete and river stones, and, just as with the hotel, this building greatly helped contribute to building the city's visual identity during the Yugoslav-era. An additional unusual feature of the complex that is quite fascinating is the two glass pyramids on the east-side of the building, which serve as the public restroom entrance. A photo of the terminal can be seen at THIS link, while its exact coordinates are N42°25'56.9", E19°16'06.2".


Photo 20: A recent view of the front of the Podgorica Bus Station. [source]


Photo 21: A photo of the old Central Committee Building in Podgorica. Credit: Miloš Martinović

  • Central Committee Building: Situated on the west banks of the Morača River, just across the Blažo Jovanović Bridge along Boulevard of St. Peter of Cetinje, is the building that originally served as the Central Committee of the Communist Union of Montenegro (Photo 21). The complex was constructed in 1979 and was built by Sarajevo architect Radosav Zeković, along with his associate architects P. Marković & P. Gajćanin. The central elements of this government building are two 100m long angular office corridors which are both closely parallel and elevated several meters above the ground on concrete pylons. These two elevated volumes intersect a long ground-based office space that extends towards the river. Some sources assert this building's modernist architecture is meant to be interpreted as a type of "critical regionalism", with the structure making reference to local building aesthetics and traditional design vernacular. Some early sketches by Zeković even illustrate that the building's two elevated corridors can be symbolically understood as the load being carried on either side of a packed horse (a reference to historical transportation methods of the region). While the building is no longer the seat of power in post-Yugoslav Montenegro, it still houses some government ministerial and party offices. The exact coordinates for this complex, which today is often referred to as the "Old Government Building" (Stara zgrada Vlade), are N42°26'29.9", E19°15'21.3".

  • Technical Faculty Building: On the western edge of Podgorica can be found the Technical Faculty Building of what is today known as the "University of Montenegro" (formerly known as "Veljko Vlahović" University during the Yugoslav-era) (Photo 22). Within this complex are house numerous faculties, such as Engineering and Mathematics, among others. Created in 1976 by the architect team of Milan & Pavle Popović, the vast complex is characterized by its eclectic assemblage of rising cylinders, cantilevered masses and upwards stair step ascending bodies, all leading up to an 8-level tall horizontal slab tower. Interestingly, the complex even has two open-air amphitheaters on its roof to take advantage of the region's beautiful weather. It is also worth pointing out the architectural similarities between this university building and the “Cyril & Methodius” University of Skopje, created in 1974 by Marko Mušič [profile page]. A birds-eye drone video of the building can be seen at THIS link. The exact coordinates for the Technical Faculty building are N42°26'34.9", E19°14'25.9".


Photo 22: A view of the Technical Faculty Buildng in Podgorica.


Photo 23: A drone view of the Clinical Center of Montenegro in Podgorica. [source]

  • Clinical Center of Montenegro: Southeast of the city center of Podgorica along the Morača River, just off of Ljubljanska Street, is the location of the Clinical Center of Montenegro (Photo 23). Unveiled in 1974 and created by the architect team of Milan Popović & Božidar Milić, this expansive medical complex was the largest center of its type in the republic when it was unveiled and was so bold and daring in its architectural style that it was bestowed with the "Borba" Award for excellence in architecture (the highest professional honor in Yugoslavia). The form of the facility is distinct for its sweepingly curved facades that are rendered in raw concrete, giving it, what is often times called, a "brutalist" aesthetic. The south-facing portion of the complex contains long sets of curving balconies while the north-facing sides of the building are characterized by their smoothly swooping flat banks of windows. Meanwhile, the southeast corner of the clinic contains a unique circular annex building connected to the main facility with a thin walkway. A birds-eye drone view of the clinic can be seen at THIS link. The exact coordinates for the center are N42°26'14.7", E19°14'45.1".


To reach the Mausoleum of Fallen Partisan Fighters on Gorica Hill in Podgorica, drive along the main road of Bulevar Ivana Crnojevića, at which point you will turn north onto the 19th of December Street right in front of City Stadium. Follow this street roughly 200m past the stadium and you will see a large parking area. From here, you can park in any number of spaces. After exiting your car, you will walk north and follow the walking pathway into Gorica Park. Following the signs, you will walk about 500m until you reach the mausoleum. The exact coordinates for the parking area are N42°26'42.8", E19°15'57.8".


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