Popina Memorial Park consists of a series of giant granite stones – some shaped like pyramids, others like smooth arches – all with holes seemingly blasted through their centers. Standing several stories high, the sculptures themselves dwarf the vehicles necessary to reach the site, and a human can easily pass through their centers fully upright. Scattered along a wooded slope, at a certain angle one can align the voids into a tunnel-like configuration, which eerily leads nowhere.
Completed in 1981, the tribute was designed by the famous architect Bogdan Bogdanović. Though his name may not immediately ring a bell, this one man is responsible for some of the most immediately recognizable memorials in Eastern Europe, including Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Partisan Memorial Cemetery, the Stone Flower at Jasenovac, Croatia, and Kosovo’s Mitrovica Miners Monument, to mention a just few.
Despite being strikingly minimal in its execution, Popina Memorial Park has a way of sticking with its visitors, even if they know nothing of what once transpired here. On October 13, 1941, a small coterie of troops met in one of the first frontal combat engagements against Germany’s troops. Heavy casualties were incurred. More than 2,300 people were shot in Kraljevo between October 15th and 20th in 1941 as part of Nazi revenge.