I mention this a lot, but it seems that every single town and village I visit in Serbia has a massive monument with thousands of dead Serbs on it! It is horrible!!! This is something you won’t hear much about outside the borders of Serbia! The monument in Nis is something that must be seen to believe.
The Germans occupied this area during WWII. They brought truck loads of Serbians, Gypsies, and Jews to Bubanj for mass executions. They killed between 10,000- 12,000 people during 1942-1944. The entire area is intersected with trenches that the bodies where thrown into after they had been shot. Before the withdrawal of the Germans as the Red Army advanced into Yugoslavia in 1944, captured Italians were ordered to dig up the trenches and burn the corpses of the victims in order to destroy all traces of the atrocities committed there.
I first heard about this monument in 2011. My buddies were going to take me up there one day, but it rained. I woke up early one morning in my $50 a month apartment. The family that owned it were an elderly couple in their late 70’s. They spoke ZERO English, but had hearts of gold! They were always coming over knocking on my door to offer coffee, pita, cherries, etc. The room was great for $50! The bathroom always cracked me up!!! It was tiny!! You had to sit on the toilet to take a shower! The water would just run down the drain pipe that was in the center of the floor! I had never seen anything like it! You can see it here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obqwjY9JBPo
My apartment, come to find out, was only 1km down the hill from Bubanj! I thought I would just check it out alone! I prefer doing a lot of my sightseeing on my own. You can go our own speed, stop when you like, and only check out what interests you. I started on a very hot morning. The monument is up on top of a hill that is surrounded by forests.It only took me about 15 minutes to get up to the top of the hill.
- Entrance to Bubanj
There is a large sign and a wooden gate at the entrance of the park. You walk about 10 minutes up a rocky path that is surrounded by beautiful pine trees.
path with beautiful pine trees
Once you get close to the clearing you can see the three massive monuments rising from the Earth!
the “killing machine” 23.5 X 2.5
The Bubanj monument is made in 4 parts. The first one being the 23.5 X 2.5 meter white marble monument. It symoblizes the five parts of “the killing machine”: execution and firing squads, civil revolts, surrender of the German invaders and final victory over the oppressors. I show the monument in this short video, but at the time wasn’t sure what it stood for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkZZ88QI-m8&feature=youtu.be
The most amazing part of the park is the “Three Fists”that tower over the entire area. They are three concrete monuments that symbolize raised hands with clenched fists. Each of the three fists are different sizes, depicting men’s, women’s and children’s hands that defy the enemy, symbolic of the fact entire families were killed at Bubanj. I am not sure of the size , but you can see from the video that they are massive!
This is one of the many beautiful monuments and historic places you can see on your trip to Nis, Serbia.
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