Tjentište War Memorial - History and Facts | History Hit

Tjentište War Memorial

Tjentište War Memorial is a sculpture and memorial complex built in the 1970s to commemorate the fallen Partisan soldiers of the Battle of the Sutjeska in 1943.

Kyle Hoekstra

27 Aug 2021
Image Credit: PhotoEdit / Alamy Stock Photo

About Tjentište War Memorial

Tjentište War Memorial is a sculpture and memorial complex built in the 1970s to commemorate the fallen Partisan soldiers of the Battle of the Sutjeska in 1943.

History of the Tjentište War Memorial

The Tjentište War Memorial is among the best known of the modernist World War Two memorials constructed in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia known as spomeniks. The Tjentište spomenik is an angular sculpture made of cement located in the Sutjeska National Park, near the Spomen-Dom (Memory House) Museum.

Together, the Tjentište and Spomen-Dom commemorate the Yugoslav Partisan soldiers who died during the Battle of Sutjeska, which took place between 15 May and 16 June 1943, during the Axis Fifth Enemy Offensive aimed at destroying the Partisan force in south-eastern Bosnia.

The Partisan success in breaking out across the Sutjeska river into eastern Bosnia became important to post-war Yugoslav mythology. It has been invoked to celebrate the suffering, sacrifice and steadiness of the Partisans.

The spomenik at Tjentište was built in the 1970s as part of an effort to expand the memorial complex. A proposal by Miodrag Živković and Ranko Radović was accepted after being presented to President Josip Tito. The sculpture consists of two 19 metre-tall, fractal concrete sails.

The adjacent Spomen-Dom was created in 1975 by architect Ranko Radović. It is a large angular building with multiple hipped roofs. The inside walls are engraved with the names of 7,356 Yugoslav Partisan soldiers who died during the Battle of Sutjeska. It also includes frescoes by Krsto Hegedušić and Dušan Plenče.

The Tjentište War Memorial was one of the most complex memorial projects and most popular memorial sites in post-war Yugoslavia. While it was badly damaged in the 1990s, recent years have seen efforts to preserve and restore the memorial complex.

Tjentište War Memorial today

The Tjentište War Memorial was rehabilitated in 2011 with UNESCO funds and since 2014, a summer rock music festival called OK Fest has made use of the surrounding land. In 2018, the frescoes in the Spomen-Dom were restored.

The enigmatic sculpture has accrued interest as part of a wider fascination with Yugoslavia’s modernist memorial sculpture, and has even inspired a fictitious monument in the game Call of Duty: Warzone.

Getting to Tjentište War Memorial

Tjentište War Memorial is located in the Sutjeska National Park. Tjentište is a two hour drive from Sarajevo and can also be reached by a regular bus route from Foča.

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