Every monument has its own story

Categories: Monuments speak

BREZOVICA MONUMENT, Šar Mountain, Kosovo*

BREZOVICA MONUMENT, Šar Mountain,  Kosovo*

Brezovica Monument is located on the slopes of the Šar Mountain in the south of Kosovo*, close to the border with North Macedonia. The monument was built in 1964 to commemorate the Shar Mountain Partisan Battalion which was formed here in 1942, supporting the resistance movement and fighting against the Italian and Bulgarian occupation forces. Both ethnic Albanians and Serbs from the area joined this Partisan unit to organise antifascist resistance and to maintain the work in the nearby chromium mines. The Šar Mountains with its numerous ridges and wide slopes, with its peak reaching 2000 m above sea level (the highest peak of Bistra at 2641 m above sea level) and with its thick forests was also providing a kind of a shelter for the Partisan units and local population hiding from the persecution of the occupying forces.

Nowadays, the Šar Mountain National Park as one of the richest mountains in the Balkan Peninsula in terms of waters, cold springs and streams, high mountainous peat bogs, torrential mountain rivers which, through cascades and waterfalls, descend to the valleys and flow into the two largest rivers: Prizrenska Bistrica and Lepenac. There are some 1800 plant species, numerous tertiary and glacial relics and over 300 Balkan endemics, present exclusively on this massif, including for example:  Achillea alexandriregis, Bornmullera dieckii, Dianthus scardicus, Crocus scardicus, and others.

Indeed, this impressive nature’s masterpiece combining high mountainous ridges, quick water flows and thick forests reminds one of a perfect hide out or a shelter. The Brezovica Monument looks exactly as if it had found a permanent shelter here, hidden far from the eyes of those not curious enough to explore its narrative. The sculptor and the author of the monument, Svetomir Arsic Basara, an ethnic Serb born in a nearby village in Kosovo* (1925) said that the symbolic message of his artistic endeavour lies in an attempt to give a form to a hidden treasure. Indeed, a combination of high concrete shapes and metal work is difficult to detect in the mountainous environment. primary monument element of the memorial, which consists of two thin curved walls (9m and 7m tall) closely surrounding a 7m tall abstract black steel sculpture. At the center of the park there is a circular stone-lined fountain, from which point stone-paved pathways lead to the park's entrance to the south and up to the monument to the north.

The sculptor’s main idea was to present the parent holding its child close to the chest and protecting it from the outer world, loving and holding it firmly – as if it were the revolutionary idea the then parents were fighting for.

As compared to many others, this monument is perhaps the least visited one while different parts of the monumental complex are either abandoned or damaged but patiently waiting for a better future and acknowledgement, including certainly better promotional signs, educational and information signposts about its cultural and historic significance. It stands hidden and surrounded by other current attractions of the Shar Mountain – such as tourist facilities, hotels, ski resorts and camping sites whose numerous visitors will surely reveal the monument soon and put it on the must see list of sites to visit.

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