During the 1960s and 70s, the then Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito, commissioned several memorial sites and monuments called ‘Spomeniks’ dedicated to World War II battles, and concentration camp sites. Designed by different sculptors and architects, the strong and powerful blending of art and architecture come together in these monuments to convey the sense of confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. However, after the dissolution of the Republic in 1992, they lost their symbolism and importance and no longer attracted the millions of visitors a year it once did.
Today there are hundreds of them scattered throughout villages and rural landscapes in the former Yugoslavia. Once the site of pilgrimages by schoolchildren, military veterans, patriots, and mourners who had lost family in WWII, these monuments are today rarely visited.
These pictures are taken by Antwerp-based photographer Jan Kempenaers who travelled the Balkans photographing these eerie objects.
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