One of the best kept secrets of Yugoslavia is its fantastic monumental art from the post-WW2 period—abstract, sometimes a bit bizarre or futuristic monuments scattered around a country which no longer exists. While other Eastern European countries were building dull social-realist monuments, Yugoslavian monuments to the antifascist struggle and revolution, made mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, are noteworthy, unusual artworks.
One example of this style is located in Zagreb, in Maksimir. With a surface area of two square kilometres, memorial park Dotrščina spans from Maksimir to Medvednica mountain. Fascists were taking their victims here, killing them and throwing them in pits. This is the place of the biggest mass crime in history of Zagreb – more than 7000 people were killed here during WW2.
This memorial park was made in the 1960s by a group of eminent sculptors led by Vojin Bakić, author of many iconic monuments. His sculpture is placed at the entrance to the area – an abstract, crystal-like form made of stainless steel, creating a play of light and shadow. The paved path leads further into the forest, toward the other monuments. All sculptures are abstract and minimalist, devoid of any narrative or ideology – without knowing what actually happened here, it’s impossible to guess from the forms themselves.
You won’t find any tourists here, and interestingly, many Zagrebians are not aware of this place either. But if you are into unusual art, forgotten history and a peaceful forest atmosphere, this is one of the most interesting spots to discover.