16 June 2009

Off the Beaten Path: the Makedonium

Located just outside the town of Kruševo, the Makedonium - formally known as the Monument to the Ilinden Uprising - may just be the best preserved, funkiest, over-the-top example of a Yugo-monument. The Makedonium was built in 1974 on the 30th anniversary of ASNOM (Anti-Fascist Assembly of the Liberation of Macedonia) and the 71st anniversary of the Ilinden uprising, which resulted in the "famous" 10 day (yes, ten day) Kruševo Republic. The "republic" (a.k.a. failed revolution) was put down by an immense number of Ottoman troops, but is still remembered as a high point in the national history (as seems to be oft the case in this region - not a defeat, but rather, short-lived success). The President of the Republic visits the Makedonium each 2nd of August (Ilinden), which possibly explains why this monument remains in such good care - it remains an important symbol for the country.

On our part, we just love the structure. Starting with the "broken chains" symbolizing freedom through the seats of the first "parliament" on to the main event, it is just a Yugo-dream.

And as long as you are around, the town itself has some of Macedonia's best examples of 19th century traditional architecture, although much of it did not survive the communist period. Also, the bizarrely oversized statue at nearby Mečkin Kamen (Bear's Rock) is worth a stop - it is just strange.

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