I read about the Partisan Memorial Cemetery online and was curious to check it out. We had difficulty finding it at first because it is a little hidden and there are no signs indicating that you are at the right place when you arrive. Should you lose your way make sure to ask locals. We managed to get lost and found ourselves on a private property where work was being done and the people on the site were so kind and advised us on how to get to the cemetery.
Geolocation: Gojka Vukovića, Mostar 88000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Latitude: 43.333379 | Longitude: 17.815098
The site was built in 1965 by Serbian architect Bogdan Bogdanović to honor Yugoslavia’s National Liberation Army. The cemetery holds the remains of 560 members of the army who were killed during World War II and is park, monument and cemetery.
The first thing that I noticed was that the ground was covered with a million pieces of broken glass. It was everywhere.
The monument is elevated and its steps are leading up to a high wall in which center a round fountain is standing that is no longer in operation. I read that the monument was actually designed as a microcosm of the city of Mostar with its cobbled paths, alleys and gates. After World War II it was a public park that was supposed to mark a new start.
There are several levels, all of which are covered with very small and puzzle-like gravestones. Sadly, most them are damaged and a lot of them are nowhere to be found.
The cemeteries condition deteriorated in the 90s – it was damaged during the war, filled with trash and covered with graffiti. The city restored the memorial in 2005 and proclaimed it a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2006.
Unfortunately and despite it all, trash, graffiti, damaged gravestones and broken glass have taken over the cemetery once again and in 2015 the entrance to the site was set on fire!
I looked at pictures prior to visiting and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I must say that I was shocked as I wasn’t expecting for the monument to be in such a horrific shape. It is rather saddening to see it all, really. If you are interested in how the monument changed throughout the years, read this article.
Today the monument appears to be a local hangout spot for teenagers and neo-nazis and is covered with distasteful symbols.
Given the monuments and cities tragic history it is truly heartbreaking to see what has happened to a monument that was once a symbol for a better future.
If you have a keen interest in history then I highly recommend you to go. Make sure to bring appropriate footwear, as there are little pieces of glass everywhere and you may not want to wear sandals. Please bear in mind that there are no lights at the monument and I would, therefore, recommend you to go during the day.