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About This Project

The Reason this Project was Created

When I first made the decision back in 2015 to venture out to explore the WWII monumental heritage ("spomeniks") of Yugoslavia, I quickly found that any sort of comprehensive definitive resource giving detailed information about them as a collective entity (as far as what they meant, who built them, how they should be understood, how to locate them, etc) was virtually non-existant on the internet at that time. However, in the planning of my first trip, I refused to allow this lack of accessible information serve as a roadblock to my journey. So, as a consequence, I spent weeks piecing together and researching relevant data on the internet until I was confident I had found the exact location of about 50 spomenik sites. My primary tools were mostly foreign language websites (which I crudely translated) and the blunt process of scouring aerial photos of locations on Google where I suspected monuments might be.

During the course of this first trip, I happened to come across an American couple who were also on a "spomenik" journey akin to mine. They expressed to me similar frustrations about not being able to find any comprehensive online resources about these monuments. At that point, I became determined that when I returned home I would create an easy-to-access and easy-to-understand resource for any people who might want to go on similar pilgrimage-type trips in the future. More importantly, I didn't want anyone else to have to go through the same exhausting work turmoil to find these monuments that I myself had to go through. What I ended up creating was the "Spomenik Database", an expansive organized online resource that offers documentation and brief histories for hundreds of sites, recounting their meaning, symbolism, evolution, construction, creation and much more.

There is something deeply moving and intangible that one experiences when encountering the spomeniks... understanding their moving anti-fascist history, learning about the WWII fighters and victims whom many are dedicated to, taking in their awe-inspiring and ambitious forms, while also considering the innovative ideals and aims of "Brotherhood & Unity" which drove them to be built in the first place. Furthermore, in the process of understanding the artists and architects who created these works, one gains a greater appreciation for the incredible evolution of art, sculpture and architecture that took place in Yugoslavia (a topic that has largely been ignored and marginalized within the West's global art overviews of the 20th century).  Through creating this database and resource, I hope that more people across the world are able to visit the spomeniks, learn about them and experience for themselves all of their historical, social, artistic and architectural importance.

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