top of page

Sremska Mitrovica

Brief Details:

Name: Necropolis at Sremska Mitrovica (Spomen groblje u Sremskoj Mitrovici / Спомен-гробље у Сремској Митровици)

Location: Sremska Mitrovica, Vojvodina, Serbia

Year completed: 1960, reopening in 1981

Designer: Bogdan Bogdanović (profile page)

Coordinates: N44°58'36.0", E19°36'22.7" (click for map)

Dimensions: 7m tall urn on 12ha complex

Materials used: Bronze

Condition: Good, rehabilitated

(SREM-skah MEE-troh-vee-tsah)

(Сремска Митровица)


This spomenik complex in Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia commemorates the roughly 12,000 people who were executed at the site of this monument during the National Liberation War (WWII).

World War II

When Axis forces invaded and conquered the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April of 1941, the town of Sremska Mitrovica was incorporated into the newly created Axis puppet-state of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). At this time, the name of the town was changed to "Hrvatska Mitrovica/Croatian Mitrovica" (however, for the purposes of clarity, this article will continue to refer to the town by its pre-war and current name). Sremska Mitrovica, like the majority of other towns in Serbia during this period, suffered under an intense and oppressive German occupation. As one of the primary goals of the NDH was to create an ethnically and culturally 'pure' Croatia, an active campaign of ethnic cleansing was waged against all Serbs, Jews and Roma who existed within the territory. This campaign only intensified as rebel groups instigated a popular uprising in July of 1941 against the NDH's military Ustaše forces. However, up until the summer of 1942, the execution of civilians was not standard or commonplace for the Ustaše in Sremska Mitrovica.

However, this all changed on August 26th, 1942, with the arrival of Ustaše Provost Marshal Viktor Tomić to Sremska Mitrovica, who had come from Vukovar to take over the city's military administration. Upon his arrival, Tomić already had a notorious reputation preceding him for having overseen the execution of hundreds of innocent civilians in Vukovar. In order to retaliate against Partisan rebels operating in the Srem region who had sabotaged local rail and communication lines, Tomić began to issue orders for the arrest and execution of civilians across the city, hoping these counter-moves against the Partisans would reign in 'order' and 'peace'. The primary location for executions were open fields adjacent to the city's Serbian Orthodox cemetery. At this place, the prisoners were made to dig long pits, at which point the prisoners were shot in the head by Ustaše soldiers and had their bodies deposited within the pits (Photo 1). After just two weeks of Tomić having taken control of Sremska Mitrovica, over 10,000 civilians from around the region had been arrested, who were mostly Serb, Jewish and Roma, all of whom had either been tortured, executed or shipped to nearby concentration camps.

Photo 1: Civilians being executed at Sremska Mitrovica, 1942

Photo 2: Sava Šumanović painting titled 'Večernji blaci', 1937

The killings were reported to be their most brutal and heavy during the summer of 1942, which is often referred to as the "Srem Bloody Summer" (сремско крваво лето). One of the most notable citizens killed during this time was post-impressionist artist Sava Šumanović (Photo 2) from the town of Šid, who is often considered to be one of the 20th century's most accomplished and innovative Serbian painters.  By the end of WWII, it was established that many thousands of civilians were executed here at the execution grounds of Sremska Mitrovic, with estimates of the exact amount varying greatly over the years. Estimates range from over 2,100 victims to numbers upwards of nearly 8,000. The town was finally liberated by the Partisan's 6th Proletarian Division, along with assistance from Soviet Red Army forces, on November 1st, 1944 during the battles at the Sremski Front. For a point of comparison to relate the devastation the war had on the city of Sremska Mitrovica, just before the war, the city had over 16,000 residents, while after the war, only about 9,000 residents were reportedly accounted for.

As far as the fate of Viktor Tomić, he escaped to Italy directly after the war, living and relaxing in anonymity for a short while around the region of Fermo. According to some sources, Tomić buried 'treasure' somewhere around Sremska Mitrovica in hopes that he would someday be able to return and dig it up. However, in early 1947, he was captured and arrested in Rome by war crimes authorities. While in prison in Rome, he was informed he would soon be extradited to Yugoslavia to be put on trial for his crimes. He soon thereafter committed suicide while in detention by slitting his wrists, more than likely because he feared he would be hung for his actions. Tomić was buried in Rome.

Spomenik Construction

Directly after the war, the spot in which these executions had occurred was memorialized with a modest stone cross. However, by 1959, the government and veterans groups of Sremska Mitrovica organized the creation of a much more expansive spomenik park which would be constructed around the historic location of the execution site. A closed competition of designers were invited to participate and submit proposals for the monument, including famed Belgrade designer Bogdan Bogdanović [profile page], Novi Sad architect Petar Jankov and local architect Anđelko Mirković. The only direction that the participating architects were given was being told that their proposal should consist of a series of small monuments spread across the complex.

At the end of the competition, the proposal put forward by Bogdanović was unanimously selected by the competition's jury. This commission was a huge bolster to not only Bogdanović's career, but also the trajectory of monument building in Yugoslavia, as it was among the earliest transitions away from the socialist realist style of memorial construction. During an interview,  Bogdanović made the following remarks about his monument at Sremska Mitrovica: 


Photo 3: Josip Tito leading a ceremony at the memorial park, 1965

"I waited and finally welcomed the Memorial Cemetery to Sremska Mitrovica. It was a revelation for me, but also for my respected comrades in the higher party ranks. It was necessary for us to separate from the Soviet model of monuments, Mitrovica, as such, had landscape architecture and a formula that worked. The ideas of memorial creation were then under Soviet influence, with little deviation: fists, fighters, falling, killing, etc. And suddenly the ideas of landscape philosophy begins, and these comrades in the Central Committee say 'let's help to separate ourselves from the Russian schemes'. That's how my career as a monument builder began."


Photo 4: A photo of the 1960 unveiling ceremony at the Sremska Mitrovica memorial park

After about a year of construction, the memorial complex was unveiled on July 4th, 1960. The event was attended by thousands of people from across the region and special remarks were made during the complex's inauguration by local politician and war hero Milan Stepanović Matroz. However, this was no the end of construction at the park, as further monumental elements continued to be added to the memorial park until October of 1981. The primary sculptural element at this spomenik complex is a 7m tall bronze urn (split in the center), located just at the east entrance to the park. The idea for a split urn memorial centerpiece was no doubt borrowed from an earlier monument competition proposal he had submitted (but not won) for the Bubanj Complex in Niš, Serbia. Meanwhile, walking along the 'Alley of Heroes' pathway to the opposing west-end of the park, there were originally situated six man-made burial mounds, atop each of which were placed ~2m tall bronze flame sculptures.


During the time period of Yugoslavia, Necropolis at Sremska Mitrovica was a highly visited memorial site and hosted large-scale annual commemorative ceremonies. These were often attended by high ranking dignitaries and government officials, such as Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito himself attending ceremonies in March of 1965. During this era, the complex underwent several phases of additions and changes to its layout, much of these occurring with the direct involvement and participation of its architect Bodgan Bogdanović. In 1975, the first major renovation effort egan at the complex, which involved not only cleaning and repairing the site's memorial elements, but also adding some new elements. Included within the efforts was a vast tree planting endeavor and the addition of a collection of small memorial works representing various Yugoslav republics. In addition, work began on a modest museum facility for the park (presumably designed by Bogdanović. given its eccentric appearance). However, the museum was not fully completed during the phase and it was left partially realized. Then, just a few years later, another phase of changes were made to the park via Bogdanović's specifications between 1978 and 1981. These changes included a reconfiguration of the space, with the inclusion of a low hedge maze at the center of the complex (in an effort to slow down the visitor to remind them that they are in a sacred space), as well as additional burial mounds to symbolize the new autonomous zones of Yugoslavia, a concrete wreath wall within the processional courtyard and a circular stone paved stage by the park's south entrance. Also during this time, the unfinished museum complex was demolished and a much more simple museum exhibition structure was built, taking the form of a traditional Srem house designed in the local vernacular style (with plasters walls and a wooden porch).

Photo 4: A view of damage to one of the flame sculptures, 2012

Photo 5: A view of damage and graffiti to the urn element, 2012

Post Yugoslav-era to Present-Day

While the facility was kept in good order during the Yugoslav-era, in the years following the collapse of the country, this spomen-park complex here at Sremska Mitrovica received a significant amount of neglect, vandalism and destruction. A number of the bronze flame sculpture elements were mangled, smashed and destroyed (Photo 4), while the bronze urn element was severely graffitied and damaged nearly to the point of total destruction (Photo 5), with whole copper panels ripped straight from the side of the sculpture.

However, in 2012, the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Sremska Mitrovica engaged in a significant restoration and reconstruction project on not only the flame and urn elements of the park, but also on the park as a whole. Today, the complex sits in relatively good and well-kept condition, hosting many visitors from the local community and also numerous annual commemorative ceremonies. In December of 2022, the Srem Museum in Sremska Mitrovica hosted a retrospective exhibition about Bogdan Bogdanović (in honor of the centenary of his birth) titled "VEČITO/FOREVER" that explored in great detail the monument here in addition to Bogdanović's many memorial works spread across the former Yugoslav region. The exhibition was curated by art historian Mare Janakova Grujić and subsequently traveled to other towns across the region where Bogdanović also created memorial works.


Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:

There are a number of significant inscribed elements located across the memorial complex here at Sremska Mitrovica. Firstly, at the far west end of the monument park, there are several tall grass-covered mass-grave burial mounds. The furthest west one has three stone slabs set into the base of it at the end of the brick-lined walkway (Slide 1). Currently, each of the stone slabs has a clear plastic panel installed over top of it (as the original relief lettering was removed by vandals). On each of these three plastic panels is printing in gold-colored lettering relating a long continuous inscription that spans across all three panels (Slides 2 - 4). The inscription on these plastic panels is a piece of writing by the famed Serbian politician and writer Dobrica Ćosić, a man who is often referred to as the 'Father of the Nation' of Serbia. The whole inscription reads, when roughly translated from Serbian to English, as:

"Here is where the Germans and fascists, from 1941 to 1944, killed 7,950 men and women. Here is where those tortured men and women, naked and bare in the rain and snow, were forced by bayonet to dig their own graves. Here is where the wounded poured lime and were buried alive. Here is where martyrs in death awaited rescue. Here is where, over graves before bayonets and machine guns, singing victims were killed. They were patriots, Communists, and fighters. They were people. They were and are liberty, brotherhood and our nation's dignity."

Originally, when this memorial element was first constructed, the inscription on these stones was raised lettering with each letter installed directly into the stone, as can be seen from a historic photo in Slide 5. However, at some point after the fall of Yugoslavia, presumably in the late 1990s, the inscription was destroyed. In the 2000s, the inscription was restored in the form of a set of bronze plaques (Slide 6). Yet, these were also stolen some years later (Slide 7). A view of the original condition of the inscribed stone slabs can be seen in Slide 8. The plastic panels with gold-foil lettering, which are the current form of the inscription, were installed in the early 2010s. This plastic panel can be seen in Slide 9. While the panel gives a close approximation of what the original text said, there are some significant differences. Firstly, the original inscription was in Latin text (as seen in Slide 8), while the current inscription on the plastic panel is in Serbian Cyrillic (written out in a Bogdanović-style font). In addition, where the original inscription mentions "Communists", the new inscription replaces that word with "rodoljubi" (meaning "patriots" in English). In late 2022, the plastic panel inscription was finally replaced with a set of permanent raised embossed letters installed directly into the stone, as part of the city's 80th anniversary restoration efforts for the park. Meanwhile, when looking at the historic photo in Slide 5, you will notice that additional engraved memorial elements once existed nearby to the above-mentioned monument, however, they are currently all destroyed... possibly awaiting future restoration and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, installed into the base of the mound to the left of this central stone inscription is a smaller white stone set into the ground that also bears an inscription (Slide 10). The inscription is written in raised embossed letters and its script is of the Bogdanović style, similar to the larger panel. When translated into English, this inscription reads as:

"Here are buried 308 soldiers of the People's Liberation Army in the fight for the liberation of the homeland and 20 soldiers of the Soviet Red Army and 18 soldiers of the Bulgarian Army who died in the fight against Nazi Germany"

As far as graffiti, since the 1990s, there were many elements of this spomenik complex that were covered in spraypaint and heavily vandalized (Slide 11). However, in the last few years, since around 2012, this complex has seen a significant amount of rehabilitation, with a majority of the graffiti and spraypaint being removed and cleaned up. Meanwhile, at the east entrance to the park, there is a large roughly-hewn stone block (Slide 12) which looks like it once alerted visitors to the name of the park. Today the stone sits blank, but on my most recent visit during the Spring of 2017, it contained graffiti of the name of the fascist group "Blood & Honor", written in Serbian.

Additional Memorial Elements:

In addition to the bronze urn memorial sculpture featured in the slideshow at the top of this spomenik profile page for Sremska Mitrovica, there are several other memorial elements present at this site. I will relate the information I have discovered about them through in this following section:

Bronze Flame Sculptures:

Directly adjacent to the Serbian Orthodox cemetery at the Sremska Mitrovica spomenik is a set of eight artificial burial mounds. Within each mound is interred the remains of victims of the People's Liberation Struggle (WWII), while each mound is also symbolic for a particular group that suffered during that war. Atop each mound is a ~2m tall bronze flame sculpture created by Bogdan Bogdanović, symbolizing the humanity and strength of the victims who died here. In the original 1960 layout, there were only 6 mounds, but in 1979, two additional ones were added. After the fall of Yugoslavia, these sculptures were severely vandalized and damaged. However, in 2012, a restoration effort restored and renewed the site. Yet, even since their repair, they are still victimized by vandals.

Bronze Flame Sculptures - Slideshow

Triglav Mountain Slovenia Sculpture:

Within the central meadow of the complex is a 3-4m tall cobblestone sculpture of a mountain (Slides 1-4). Installed in 1977 as part of an effort to create small memorial elements within the park dedicated to each Yugoslav republic, this monument is dedicated to the contributions of Slovene Partisans during the war. The shape of this mountain sculpture is meant to depict Triglav Mountain in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, one of the most significant symbols of Slovenia and a peak that stood as the tallest mountain of Yugoslavia. As such, Triglav carried immense symbolic significance and importance for the entire country. In the years since the fall of Yugoslavia, this monument experienced a significant amount of abuse and graffiti. However, today, much of this graffiti has been cleaned, but some still exists.

Mountain Sculpture - Slideshow

The Montenegro Sculpture:

During the 1975 renovation of the memorial park, several new elements were included within the central open birch-laden meadow area that were to stand as representations of each of Yugoslavia's republics. The work submitted by the SR of Montengro was a stylized head-shaped sculpture created by notable Montenegrin artist Mijo Mijušković (Slides 1-3). Crafted of marble, the sculpture takes on the abstract and amorphous design that Mijušković was well known for. Along side this sculpture were included several medium sized white boulder stones that originate from the area of Ostrog, an important symbol of Montenegro. One of these stones is inscribed with a rough engraving of a poetic verse by Novi Sad poet Petar Đuranović (Slide 4). When translated into English, this inscription reads as:

Montenegro sculpture - Slideshow

"The night before death is shorter than death, our brothers are slaughtered by our non-brothers" -Petar Đuranović

However, other than this one inscription, there are no plaques or other engraving on or around the sculpture (or any of its elements) indicating its author or what is represents. The sculpture currently stands in good condition and is continues to be a curious attraction within the park. Social media posts show that many young children enjoy getting their photo taken in front of the wor.

National Heroes Memorial:

Also within the burial mound complex is a roughly hewn stone cube that originally commemorated four local Serbian "People's National Heroes" from the People's Liberation Struggle (WWII). The four Partisan fighters originally honored here were Janko Čmelić, Stanko "Veljko" Paunović, Boško "Pinky" Palkovljević and Slobodan "Paja" Bajić. When it was first built, this memorial stone had one of these four names inscribed on each of the stone cube's four faces with raised metal lettering (Slide 3). After the neglect of this memorial in the 1990s, the inscribed names began to be damaged and chipped away at by vandals. By the early 2010s, these inscriptions were completely removed. Currently, all that exists is the blank spaces where these inscribed names once existed.

National Heroes Memorial - Slideshow

Ceremonial Wreath Wall:

Also originally included at the west end of the Alley of Heroes (just to the left of the engraved stones) was a short curved concrete memorial wall in front of which was a circular marble pedestal. The original appearance of this wall can be seen in Slides 1 - 3. However, at some point during the last few decades, this wall has disappeared and no current trace of it can be found. Yet, despite the disappearance of the wall, the marble pedestal mysteriously still remains (Slide 4). The original function of this memorial element was to place and display ceremonial wreaths during commemorative events and other functions. It is unknown exactly what year this wreath wall was removed or why it was removed. As far as I have been able to determine, there were not inscriptions or plaques installed within this wall.

Vanished Mystery Wall - Slideshow


The memorial complex created by Bogdan Bogdanović, whose official name is 'Necropolis at Sremska Mitrovica', is divided into two sections (an east and a west) (Figure 1). At the west section are six burial mounds arranged around a star-shaped courtyard, while at the east side is a large bronze urn-like sculpture. Of all the elements, the urn stands as the tallest and instantly commands the attention of visitors. A universal image of death (holding the ashes of the fallen), the shape of the urn communicates immediate symbolic notions of mortality and loss. However, understanding the split down the middle of the urn is less clear.

Figure 1: A map of Necropolis at Sremska Mitrovica drawn by Bogdan Bogdanović

In attempting to understand the meaning of this mysterious split down the center of the urn, researcher Gorana Lemajić makes the followings observations in his 2022 paper:

"In the margins of the plans for this monument, we come across [Bogdanović's] note in which the urn is referred to as an object 'in which old wine and olive oil are kept, gifts of nature', but, within it was also kept 'hero's ashes', so, it became a sort 'house of the deceased'. So, could interpret the halving of the urn as a symbolic representation of the moment when death was stronger than life, but also as a source of new life. One of the interpretations is that it symbolizes the dual existence present in the complex, the "city of the living" versus the "city of the dead" - embodied in the sanctuary square, which is a frequent theme of Bogdnović's memorials."

In fact, numerous sources relate that Bogdanović's necropolis memorial is meant to be symbolic of the struggle between life and death. As Bogdanović often described in his philosophical writings, he saw his work as a relationship between a "City of the Dead" and a "City of the Living", forever separated, yet, intrinsically linked. As such, each polar end of this memorial complex can be understood as representing one of these two extremes. The result of this organization of the complex, situating opposing elements opposite each other in a mirror-like fashion, is meant to act as a symbolic journey for visitors as they move through the monument park, allowing them to experience both the mortal and fatal struggle of those civilians who perished here. This exploration of the 'duality of existence' is a symbolic approach used by Bogdanović at other memorial complexes he created in Yugoslavia, most notably at Martyr's Cemetery at Mostar.

When examining the six earthen mounds located around the star-shaped courtyard memorial section, one can find that they are topped with small bronze flame sculptures. Bogdanović is reported to have described fire as a symbolic force that represented for him 'humanism and free-thought'. In the original design of the memorial, each of the six flame-topped mounds was a symbol for each of the six republics of Yugoslavia. However, in 1974 Kosovo and Vojvodina were granted increased levels of autonomy and self-governance, which led to the addition of two additional mounds in 1979 to represent this change. The courtyard within the center of the mounds is edged with a thin line of red bricks, perhaps symbolizing, as Gorana Lemajić notes, an excavation of another layer of ancient Roman city of Sirmium.

Meanwhile, the explicit symbolic meaning intended by Bogdanović with the urn-like sculpture at the City of the Living memorial section is less clear. Traditionally, an urn is a symbol for death, being a vessel that holds our earthly remains, so, it representing a celebration of life seems contradictory. Perhaps in this case, instead of the urn being the container of death, it stands as a container for life. Viewing the urn in this fashion may explain the sculpture has two sliced openings around its perimeter... where once the urn held life prisoner, with these openings, life (in the form of the visitor to the urn sculpture) can actively enter it and pass out of it. However, the shape of this urn might not necessarily be an urn at all, but instead might be a symbolic reference to Neolithic cultures which existed in Eastern Europe, as Bogdanović's urn's form is highly reminiscent of vessels made by people of the ancient Bell Beaker culture and the Corded Ware culture, which both existed around 2500BC. As the name of these two cultures suggests, they are largely known for and studied via the distinctly shaped vessels they created (Photo 6). Bogdanović, who makes references to neolithic culture in a number of his monument works (such as at Vlasotince and Jasenovac), may have felt creating a sculpture that referenced the pottery vessels of these ancient cultures symbolized the concept of 'eternal life' since such vessels are some of the few traces of these cultures which remained even after thousands of years. Archeological discussions about Bell Beaker culture's connection to ancient European migration were quite prominent during the late 1950s (which was the era this Sremska Mitrovica monument was created), so Bogdanović would have been well aware of their social relevance. Bogdanović makes further references to ancient pottery in his monument at Leskovac, Serbia.


Photo 6: A vessel from the Bell Beaker culture, Scotland

In volume 10 of the journal "Arhitektura urbanizam", which came out in 1961, notable Serbian poet & writer Milorad 'Surep' Panić wrote the following description about what he felt was the significance and symbolism behind Bogdan Bogdanović's Sremska Mitrovica memorial cemetery (with his comments being translated here into English):

"This, our translucent blue sky, this gentle undulating countryside, those rosy gushes of blood that we have seen, and those cries of pain and defiance that we still hear as they merged at one point of eternity and pause here as if to remember all that has passed and to warn of the things that should not be forgotten. Yes, the moment of one eternity, our eternity, captured by the power of the artist. All the elements are so real, so visceral - the sidewalk that leads, the trees that accompany us, the torches that do not burn, the small modest mounds, the names of the heroes... dear heroes!... who greet us like hosts at the doorstep of their homes - everything here is intimate, close, earthly, and yet it is all brought up to a higher plane where words are muted, where mutual feelings intertwine with an out-stretched invisible hand. The expression is earnest, highly creative and hugely relevant, a magnetic core of deep inspiration. Let us grant him acknowledgement for this work, this 'condensed social emotion', whose interpreter was... the "artist/architect". And forgive us for using that coarse and erroneous dictionary label, which echos with a false tone when compared to his extremely sublime oratory."

Status and Condition:

Taking into consideration all elements of this memorial complex, it is reasonable to say that the current condition of this spomenik park is somewhere between fair and good. Firstly, the grounds and landscaping is well maintained and manicured, with very little in the way of overgrown or out-of-control vegetation. Meanwhile, there are some, but not many, directional and promotional signs making visitors and tourists aware of this memorial park -- in other words, if the city's aim is to promote the park as a local attraction and point of interest to a wide visitors-sphere, more work could certainly be done towards that aim. While there is the central plaque memorial plaque in Serbian, there exists no multi-lingual interpretive or informational signs at the site informing tourists and visitors as to the cultural or historical significance of the site. As far as the structure of the memorial elements, many were in a dire state of neglect and disrepair until a 2012 restoration effort by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Sremska Mitrovica. This restoration effort was funded by the city in the amount of 10 million RSD (83,000 euro). The most notable restoration efforts were for the bronze urn and the bronze flame sculptures, as these had been so damaged and distressed that they were nearly to the point of total destruction. However, a number of smaller memorial elements at the site are still in extremely poor condition. In addition, the small museum building within the memorial, which originally hosted exhibits and displays relating to the WWII events of Sremska Mitrovica, has not been in operation since the early 1990s. Currently, the building has been given to a local hunting club for use as their headquarters.

Photo 7: A view of a 2016 ceremony at the memorial complex at Sremska Mitrovica

As far as visitors, this site sees a very significant amount of them every day, mostly due to the fact that this spomenik park also acts as a fully functional city park right in a middle of a major residential area of Sremska Mitrovica. While there are a great many visitors patronizing this site daily, to what extent those visiting here are doing so to honor and respect the memorial elements of this park is not entirely clear. However, I did find a significant number of honorific wreaths, flowers and candles upon my most recent visit to the site during the spring of 2017, so it is evident that many in the local community pay their respects to the memory of the monument here at the Sremska Mitrovica spomenik park. Furthermore, there are still modest annual commemorative ceremonies and events still regularly held here, most often in late August or early September (Photo 7). In addition, this complex is protected as a cultural asset of great importance on both the national and local levels.

Additional Sites in the Sremska Mitrovica Area:

This section will explore additional Yugoslav-era historical, cultural and memorial sites in and around the greater Sremska Mitrovica region that would of interest to those studying the monuments or history of the former Yugoslavia. We will examine the "Monument to the Revolution" at Ruma, the monument sites at Fruška Gora National Park, as well as the now destroyed TV tower at Fruška Gora.

Monument to the Revolution in Ruma:

Roughly 17km east Sremska Mitrovica is the town of Ruma. Within the central square of Ruma is situated a memorial sculpture series which is titled "Monument to the Revolution" (but locally goes by the nickname 'Trube' in Serbian or 'Trumpet' in English) (Slides 1 - 4). Created in 1975 by the architect team Cveta Davičo & Miša David, the work consists of seven trumpet-like bronze sculptures each arranged on large concrete pedestals. Sources assert that each of the seven sculptural forms represent each of the seven of the WWII Vojvodina Partisan brigades of the People's Liberation Army. Some sources even say that the positioning of the sculptures is symbolic as far as location where these seven brigades originated, with three pointing towards Fruška Gora and four pointing towards Bosnia. Meanwhile, the trumpet-like design of the sculptures could be a reference to the "call to uprising" in response to the oppression the region faced during WWII.

Monument to the Revolution at Ruma - Slideshow

In the original construction of the monument, the sculptures were situated at the center of a expansive red-brick sunken amphitheatre. However, during a 2008 redevelopment project in the city center of Ruma, the old red brick amphitheatre was removed and replaced with a more conventional flat tiled square with a fountain in the middle. Historic photos of the Trube site before 2008 changed can be seen in Slides 5 - 8.  No plaques or engravings currently exist at the site (as they were probably removed during the sites 2008 redevelopment). I found no articles or reports indicating that commemorative events are still held at the site. While the overall condition of the monument seems stable and intact, the concrete base has a significant amount of graffiti on it. The exact coordinates for this monument are N45°00'31.5", E19°49'20.0".

Iriški Venac Monument at Fruška Gora:

Roughly 21km north of Sremska Mitrovica is the entrance to Fruška Gora National Park. Existing as a long rolling mountain range in northern Srem just south of the Danube River, this heavily forested mountain region was a major stronghold for the Partisan rebels during WWII to such a degree that parts of the Fruška Gora remained as free unoccupied territory throughout the entirety of the war. In 1960, Fruška Gora was set up as Serbia's first national park. Many sites of significance related to Partisan efforts across these mountains during the war were commemorated during the Yugoslav era, with the most significant being the massive "Monument to Freedom" obelisk at the Iriški Venac mountain pass (Slides 1 - 3). Erected in 1951 by famous sculptor Sreten Stojanović, the monument is dedicated to the many Partisan fighters of the Vojvodina region (as well as Red Army soldiers) who fell during the war, most notably at the Yugoslav Front.

Iriški Venac Monument at Fruška Gora - Slideshow

Standing as the largest monument at Fruška Gora, at roughly 30m tall, the monument Iriški Venac topped with a large bronze sculpture of a women who is acting as a symbolic embodiment of liberty and making a dramatic and sweeping arm gesture for rise up against oppression. At the base of the obelisk is a group of Partisan fighters (both men and women) marching off to battle. The limestone blocks which the obelisk and monument are made of were sourced locally from Fruška Gora. The exact coordinates for the "Monument to Freedom" at Iriški Venac are N45°09'06.7", E19°50'22.4". Historical images of the monument can be seen in Slides 4 - 6. Many additional smaller monument sites marking WWII sites exist across Fruška Gora National Park, too many to list here, but a great interactive map pin pointing all of them (along with many other sites of interest across the park) can be found at THIS LINK. The official website for Fruška Gora National Park can be found HERE.

Iriški Venac TV Tower at Fruška Gora:

Also within Fruška Gora National Park near Iriški Venac are the ruins of a massive 170m tall concrete TV tower. Created in conjunction with the establishment of the TV Novi Sad complex, the original plans for this tower were put forward in 1973 by a design team including the Serbian architects Uglješa Bogunović and Slobodan Janjić, the engineer Milan Krstić and sculptor Milica Bogunović. This was to be the second-largest tower in Yugoslavia after the Avala Tower (12km south of Belgrade), which was interestingly also made by the same design team. Construction began in 1974 and was breathtakingly completed in just one year, being unveiled in 1975. It was made with an unusual construction of a 50 tall metal antenna fixed upon a 120m tall concrete tower. During the Yugoslav-era, this was a supremely important site, not only because it transmitted TV airwaves across the city of Novi Sad and much of the Srem/Vojvodina region, but it was also a significant monument testifying to Yugoslav innovation and modernization.

Iriški Venac TV Tower at Fruška Gora - Slideshow

The tower contained observation decks from which views across the entire Vojvodina region could be seen, making it a local tourist destination to the many tourists spending time here in the scenic Fruška Gora region. However, as the country of Yugoslavia was dismantling in the 1990s and Serbia became embroiled within a violent conflict with Kosovo, the tower additionally became a site of strategic importance as a critical information outlet. As a result, during NATOs bombing campaign in Serbia in 1999, the tower was struck repeatedly (with some sources asserting it was hit by over 50 missiles). However, despite the intense bombing, the structure did not collapse, unlike the Avala Tower, which toppled during a similar bombing campaign the same year. Today, the bombed out ruins of the Iriški Venac TV tower still reside much as they did after the 1999 attack. Efforts towards restoring the tower have been discussed as far back as 2005, however, while Avala Tower was rebuilt and opened in 2010, as of yet no solid projects towards reconstruction have materialized for the Iriški Venac tower. Estimates of the costs for reconstruction exceed several million euros. The Iriški Venac tower ruins are about 1km east of the Iriški Venac monument, with its exact coordinates being  N45°09'30.3", E19°51'43.1". Access to the tower ruins is closed and strictly prohibited.


And Additional Sites of Interest:

  • The "Bridge of Exchange" Monument: Roughly 13km NE away from Sremska Mitrovica, near the village of Stejanovci, is a small monument commemorating the site of a prisoner exchange between Partisans and the German Army in September of 1943. Created by famous Serbian sculptor Jovan Soldatović [profile page] in 1971, the memorial consists of two ~4m tall concrete pillars on either side of the main road near the bridge site where the prisoner exchange occurred. The work consists of a set of two concrete pillars, with iron metal abstract sculptural forms melded into the tops of each of these pillars (Photo 8). The exact coordinates for the site are N45°02'13.9", E19°44'20.5". A photo of the monument can be found at this Wikipedia page.

Stejanovci, serbia.jpg

Photo 8: "Bridge of Exchange" Monument

Sremski Front.jpg

Photo 9: The Sremski Front Memorial

  • Sremski Front Memorial Complex: roughly 39km west of Sremska Mitrovica, near the village of Adaševci (less than 5km from the Croatian border), is an expansive monument complex commemorating the final 1945 standoff at the Sremski/Syrmian Front, where Partsian forces ultimately finally broke the German front lines and freed Yugoslavia from Axis occupation (Photo 9). Unveiled in 1988 and created by architect Milan Sapundžić & sculptor Jovan Soldatović [profile page], the site is characterized by a long pathway lined with brick walls leading to a low circular museum filled with exhibits, gypsum sculptures by Soldatović and WWII artillery. The exact coordinates for the memorial complex are N45°02'58.2", E19°10'59.8". More info is available at the Sremski Front Museum Facebook page.

  • Sirmium Imperial Palace: within the town of Sremska Mitrovica are the ruins of the ancient Roman 1st century BC city of Sirmium, which served as one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire. The majority of the now exposed ruins of the city were excavated during the Yugoslav-era in the 1970s. A large visitors center and museum site allow visitors to explore a great deal of the site. The exact coordinates for the Sirmium museum and visitor's complex is N44°58'00.3", E19°36'36.2". More information about the site can be found at the museum's official website, which can be found HERE.

  • "Meeting of the Couriers" Monument: East of Sremska Mitrovica about 9km is the small community of Šašinci. At the center of this village in front of the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit is a memorial sculpture known as the "Meeting of the Couriers" Monument (Photo 10). Created in 1979 by Novi Sad sculptor Pavel Radovanović, this modest work depicts the bronze-cast figures of two life-sized boys standing face-to-face in an embrace and speaking closely to each other. This work is depicting the young men who operated as messenger couriers for the Partisans, quickly communicating crucial information and secrets between various groups and locations. The exact coordinates for this monument are N44°58'09.9", E19°44'34.7".

Šašinci, SRB, Pavel Radovanovic.jpg

Photo 10: Vintage photo of the "Meeting of the Couriers" Monument

Laćarak, [44.998307, 19.563993].jpg

Photo 11: Monument to Fallen Fighters in Laćarak

  • Monument to Fallen Fighters in Laćarak: Roughly 4km west of Sremska Mitrovica is the small suburb of Laćarak. Right in the town center of Laćarak can be found a memorial complete dedicated to local Partisan fighters who perished during WWII (Photo 11). Unveiled on November 1st of 1986 (the town's liberation day) and created by Belgrade sculptor Sima Miljković, the monument consists of four square pillars (roughly 3 to 4m tall) that are carved on all sides with deep flowing lines of curves and swirls. Two of these pillars hold a series of bronze plaques bearing the names of the town's fallen fighters. Behind these pillars is an amphitheatre with a final small carved stone fountain element at its center. The complex is in good condition and is still regularly commemorated. Its exact coordinates are N44°59'54.4"N, E19°33'51.2".

  • The Monument to Freedom in Sremska Mitrovica: At the center of the plaza in front of the train station of Sremska Mitrovica (located at the north end of town), there exists a memorial marker known as the "Monument to Freedom" (Spomenik oslobođenja). Composed of a traditional obelisk made of concrete on a pedestal adorned with red stars and standing roughly 11m tall, this work was erected on November 1st, 1945, which was a date that marked the one-year anniversary of the WWII liberation of Sremska Mitrovica by Partisan units (16th Vojvodina and 11th Krajina) and Red Army forces (87th Armored Motorized Regiment). An inscribed and polished white stone panel is installed onto the front of the obelisk's pedestal that explains its significance and relates the units who were involved in the region's WWII liberation. This stands as one of the earliest built WWII Yugoslav monuments that still exists up to the present day. It currently resides in good and hosts annual commemorative events. The exact coordinates for this monument are N44°58'54.2", E19°36'48.5".

!Train sta-1.jpg

Photo 12: "Freedom Monument" in Sremska Mitrovica [credit: Dejan Stefani]


From the city center of Sremska Mitrovica, head north several hundred meters until you meet up with Road 120. From here, turn left onto 120 and head west until just before the first roundabout, turning right onto Fascist Victims Road (Žrtava Fašizma) (see HERE for Google StreetView). Follow this road north until it ends at a parking lot by a large cemetery (see HERE for Google StreetView). Park here and walk north and you will enter the Memorial Park. Head west to see the burial mounds and walk several hundred meters to the east to see the bronze urn (marked on the map with the red star). The exact coordinates for parking are N44°58'33.6", E19°36'01.2".

Click to open in Google Maps in new window

Historical Images:



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.

bottom of page