In 1903, a group of brave Macedonians charged into battle against the Ottoman Empire, sparking a movement that led to the creation of a free Macedonia. In honor of the uprising, a bizarre space-age monument and memorial complex was constructed 70 years later. If the artist and the surrounding memorial park didn’t state explicitly that the building was in honor of the Ilinden Uprising, it stands to reason that no one would ever make the connection.
The Makedonium almost looks like a heart valve, except it’s white and has around 10 massive stained-glass skylights poking out from its circular base. In North Macedonia, it has become a symbol of statehood, even making it onto the national currency on the 10,000 Denari bill. It overlooks the town of Kruševo from over 4,000 feet, which makes it fairly prominent, but that’s where the symbolism ends.
There are no statues of soldiers holding a flag or grand statements of statehood. There is only a weird African-cucumber shaped modernist expression of freedom. Maybe that’s the point of the monument, it is looking toward the future, where free expression meets innovation without the stifling influence of a crumbling Turkish empire. There are probably no right answers, but a trip to the Makedonium will at the very least allow visitors to overlook a beautiful and well-preserved medieval town while they scratch their heads in confusion.
Know Before You Go
It's less than a mile from the center of Kruševo.