Keywords Change this

Monument, Yugoslavian Modernism

Project timeline

1948 – 1961


Monument & Memorial

Location Change this

Put banjalučkog odreda
78000 Banja Luka
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Architect Change this


Article last edited by Bostjan on
October 27th, 2022

Monument to Fallen Krajišniks Change this

Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Antun Augustinčić Change this
1 of 6

Description Change this

Monument to the fallen Krajišniks stands as a reminder of the National Liberation War and the people of Bosnian Krajina. It is the work of Yugoslav sculptor Antun Augustinčić. Spomenik was erected on Banj brdo (formerly Šehitluci) in the immediate vicinity of Banja Luka city, dominating its basin.

The monument was erected in the spot where in June and July of 1941 important Communist party of Yugoslavia meetings took place, which later resulted in uprising in Bosanska Krajina on July 27th 1941 as an important event in the course of the Second world war and Yugoslavia winning it. Erecting this monument was a milestone in Yugoslav memorial architecture - most of the monuments up to this point were erected to glorify the Soviets and the Red army while the Partisan monuments and monuments of the People’s Liberation Movement were considered second class. When in 1948 Yugoslavia said its famous “No!” to the Soviets and these two world powers split, Yugoslav memorial architecture focused on glorifying the Yugoslav partisan and completely discarded the Red Army and its influence.

Position in the Landscape

This monument was one of the very first ones that focused its memorial narrative on promoting the authenticity of the partisan movement and its strong connection to the Yugoslav people. It was designed to forever remember several thousands of soldiers from Bosanska Krajina, men and women, who gave their lives during the Second World war. Augustinčić used the historical importance of the landscape and integrated it in positioning the monument exactly in the same place where in June 1941 the Communist party of Yugoslavia held its most important regional meeting that contributed to the Krajina uprising when the occupying ustaše forces were defeated for a while. On July 27th 1941 guerilla squads of the partisans, followed by hundreds of locals, took over Drvar and Bosansko Grahovo, after which Drvar became the center of the liberated territory later known by the name Republic of Drvar which remained free until November 25th the same year. Later on this date will be celebrated in Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Uprising day of peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina and after 1995 as the Statehood day of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Monument Design

It is somewhat clear why Augustinčić insisted to start producing the first sketches of the monument as early as 1948 and almost a decade later he produced the final drawings for erecting the monument. Like mentioned before, this was a milestone moment in memorial architecture of Yugoslavia and its narrative.

The monument was designed in a way that it stands on a concrete base that is covered in marble from the island of Brač (Croatia) with shallow and deep reliefs that speak of the history of the people of Krajina. Using an artistic doctrine characteristic for soc-realism, Augustinčić focused the concept on the storytelling, while the actual materialisation of the monument is just a “carrier of the story” - this way the message for the viewer becomes more intense and plausible. The interior of the monument was designed as an ossuary covered with frescas depicting the People’s Liberation Movement. The interior was affected by an unresolved moisture problem for years, resulting in Ismet Mujezinović realising his frescoes only in the 1980s, while the sketches for them were made as early as 1956. The monument was a challenging economic undertaking for Banja Luka at the time. However, organized by Banja Luka People Front, its population and that of the surrounding towns voluntarily built an access road in the period from 1953 to 1961, as well as led actions for reforestation of Starčevica hill and Banj hill (Šehitluk). It was inaugurated on the twentieth anniversary of the uprising in Bosnian Krajina, July 27th 1961.

Three Spatial Units

Commemorative/ approach path: Done in a similar manner as with most Yugoslav monuments, the commemorative parh is realized in the form of a wide staircase that slowly introduces visitors to the plateau in front of the monument, further leading to the entrance of the mausoleum. From the plateau the spomenik is experienced most intensely.

A circular path around the monument enables the visitor to perceive the impressive monument form from all sides. The path stretches deep into the forest and creates a sequence of spatial experiences around it and also various views towards it.

Monument - Mausoleum: From an architectural perspective, this monument belongs to the complex monument forms. Playful geometric elements form a pyramidal composition with an emphasis on the frontal part of the monument. At the front is the entrance to the mausoleum (ossuary), above which is a relief figure of a young man further emphasising the entrance itself and leading visitors towards an assumed walking line. It is 13m tall on the front side, with a total length of 24m and width of 9m. Relief placed on the side walls tells the story of the great uprising of the peoples of Krajina and their rebellion against the fascist occupier. Reliefs are, to a large extent, based on the motifs from the Bible translated into socialist realism with ideological motifs of partisans, fighting, a mother crying over her dead son, and similar. The interior of the mausoleum was painted with frescoes that also carry the narrative of the NOB. Although it is under the protection of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the central wall has been completely destroyed and the damage due to the lack of maintenance is irreversible. The north and south walls with their frescoes have been preserved. In addition, using stone from Brač in the harsh and difficult climate of Krajina proved to be a bad choice, thus making the maintenance and restoration of the monument difficult.


  • Dunja Krvavac


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