Kosturnica (Ossuary Monument) – Veles, North Macedonia - Atlas Obscura

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Kosturnica (Ossuary Monument)

Veles, North Macedonia

This elegant monument to those who fought against fascism is inspired by the shape of the poppy flower. 


The Ossuary Monument (Kosturnica) pays homage to the partisans from Veles who fought against the fascist forces from Germany and Bulgaria in World War II. It consists of a concrete monument inspired by an upside-down poppy flower. Half of this structure is indoors, and it houses a series of mosaics and smaller monuments. Underneath the monument is a crypt with the remains of 87 partisans.

The credits for the design of this ossuary monument go to Ljubomir Denkoviḱ and Savo Subotin. Its construction began in 1976 and continued for three years, and the monument was eventually unveiled on 11 October 1979. As a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, this structure suffered years of neglect and vandalism. The bronze plaques that adorned the open-air section of the monument were stolen, and graffiti started appearing. Fortunately, the indoor section was not broken into, and the mosaics and the smaller statue survived unscathed. 

The situation started improving in the 2010s, when funds were allocated to the renovation of the ossuary monument. As of 2022, four of the six original bronze plaques have been recovered and returned to their rightful place.  The monument has been repainted, and the graffiti was covered, but the structure does show signs of aging.

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August 1, 2022

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