An almost deserted town in rural Montenegro has a small but proud moment in World War II history. But unless you grew up there, you would probably never know it exists.
Grahovo, about nine miles from the much more popular Bay of Kotor, was viciously attacked by Austro-German forces during the early stages of the war and effectively burned to the ground. However, on July 13, 1941, a group of locals, led by future national hero Savo Kovačević, successfully attacked and disarmed a group of occupying enemy soldiers.
In 1977, as a monument to the indefatigable spirit of the local resistors, a seven-foot-tall bronze statue, was erected on a hill in the center of the town surrounded by 272 concrete squares, each one bearing the name of one of the locals killed during the conflict.
Sadly, just two years later, a devastating earthquake shook Montenegro and devastated Grahovo, barely leaving any buildings standing. Due to the poor infrastructure and economic instability of the area, most locals picked up and moved to the larger cities, such as Niksic or the capital, Podgorica, leaving the monument, and the town itself, to slowly decay.
Today, only a handful of residents remain in the town and the memorial park is rapidly losing a battle against the invading foliage of the surrounding park. With Montenegrin authorities showing little or no interest in reviving the area anytime soon, Grahovo remains a disappearing monument to resistance awaiting its next hero.
Know Before You Go
From Kotor Bay, head north on the P11 highway for about nine miles. There is a sign for the one and only road in and out of Grahovo on the left. The monument is about a five-minute drive from the turn off straight down the main street. There is a cafe/bar just at the entrance to the park