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MAKEDONIUM Monument, Krusevo, North Macedonia

MAKEDONIUM Monument, Krusevo, North Macedonia

Makedonium Monument near municipality Kruševo was designed to commemorate the historically most important resistance movements in North Macedonia:  Illinden Uprising (1903) against the Ottoman Empire and the Partisan fighters of National Liberation War (WWII). The authors of this latest monumental „concrete utopia“ architectural design built during former Yugoslavia (1971-1974) are Jordan Grabulovski  (1925-1986) and Iskra Grabulovski (1936-2008), renowned artists from Skopje. The perfection of a spherical shape with protruding windows letting the sunlight into the building seems to have conveyed clearly the artists’ message of eternal perfection of humanity. Indeed, this couple of architectures had to fight for their conceptualisation of remembrance and after numerous delays and  disagreements with the government commission eventually were allowed to create their own vision of the monument which as a reminiscence of both the past and the future. Today, the Monument is widely known in the public as Makedonium, a modernist memorial and a quantum leap in terms of its architectural design and its symbolism. 

The monumental structure was completed and officially inaugurated in 1974., marking the 30th anniversary of the WW2 Second Session of the Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia and the 71st anniversary of the Ilinden uprising. Furthermore, its narrative comprises four historic ages of North Macedonia: antiquity, Turkish rule, the WW2 time and that of independence. The indoor reliefs, a sculptural form evoking the “eternal flame” are lined to unveil the sunburst pattern of the Macedonian flag.

Krusevo was decided as the most convenient location of the monument for at least two reasons: the hillside on the north end of town was a prominent spot overlooking the entire area, and this was the place where Nikola Karev, the leader of the 1903 Ilinden uprising had his headquarters, while also, it was on this spot that the Kruševo Republic was initiated. On the liberated territory, the Republic of Krushevo was formed, while Nikola Karev was proclaimed president. After the 1903 Uprising was crushed by the Ottomans and this is where many of the rebels were executed. Although it lasted only ten days, the Krusevo Republic plays a significant role in the culture of remembrance.

WW2 in Yugoslavia was the time when North Macedonia officially declared a nation-state during the Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM), held at Prohor Pčinjski Monastery on August 2nd, 1944, which was a date symbolically chosen to align with the date of the Ilinden Uprising, as the ASNOM gathering considered itself the 'Second Ilinden'. Kruševo Partisan Detachment was formed in 1942 as a force of community soldiers who engaged in armed conflicts against Axis troops across North Macedonia until Kruševo's liberation in the fall of 1944. Presently, this date is still celebrated in North Macedonia as the Day of the Republic.

This exciting story of the Makedonium Monument would not be complete without a brief intro about the city of Kruševo - a small town in western North Macedonia with about 5,000 inhabitants. The city is 140 km away from Skopje, located at an average altitude of 1,250m, which makes it the highest city in the country. It is known as a city-museum, famous for being a home to the Kruševo Republic (the first republic in the Balkans).This is where the Krusevo Manifest was proclaimed as one of the first declarations in the Balkans promoting ethnic equality and universal tolerance.Today, Kruševo is a regional cultural and administrative center in North Macedonia.

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