Eternal Flame (Belgrade)
Вечна ватра/Večna vatra
The Eternal Flame on the 20th anniversary of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 2019
|For the military and civilian victims of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia|
|Unveiled||June 12, 2000|
|Designed by||Sculptors Svetomir and Svetozar Radović and architects Marko Stevanović and Miodrag Cvijić|
The memorial was unveiled on June 12, 2000, to commemorate the first anniversary of the end of the bombing. It was vandalized following the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević and was in a state of ruin for several years.
The monument was largely conceived by Mirjana Marković, the leader of the Yugoslav Left and wife of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević. It was originally planned to have a height of 78 meters, to symbolize the 78 days of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
It was completed in only 10 days and was unveiled by Serbian president Milan Milutinović on June 12, 2000. The ceremony was attended by Federal Defence Minister Dragoljub Ojdanić, chairman of the Directorate for the Reconstruction of the Country Milutin Mrkonjić and many other high-ranking officials.
During the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević in October 2000, the monument was vandalized and the gas flow was stopped. Notably, an early intervention was the replacement of the word "vatra" with "vutra" – the word for marijuana in the šatrovački street slang. In the following years, the obelisk was defaced with graffiti and the letters of the inscription were progressively stolen until only two commas were left in 2006. This has been studied by the Russian-Swedish artist Alexander Vaindorf as an example of the mechanisms of the reconstruction of history.
Thanks to an initiative by the Generals and Admirals Club of Serbia, the monument was cleaned in 2009. The Street and Square Names Commission stated that the monument was never restored because it was erected contrary to usual procedure, and was not protected by the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments. The plateau surrounding the monument was renovated in 2019.
The monument consists of a 27-meter tall concrete obelisk, topped with a 5-meter tall bronze fire sculpture from which an eternal flame protrudes. The gas for the eternal flame is supplied by the company Energogas. As of March 2019, it has been inoperative since the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević during which the piping was damaged.
It was originally decorated with 4 searchlights mounted on the base of the obelisk, which were later stolen and have not been replaced as of March 2019.
The 5.5-meter wide eastern wall of the obelisk's base was originally decorated with a short text by Mirjana Marković. The letters of the text have all been stolen, and haven't been replaced as of March 2019.
Ова ватра нека вечно гори као успомена на рат који је 19 земаља НАТО пакта –
|The Eternal Flame|
May this flame burn eternally as a memorial to the war that the 19 countries of the NATO pact –
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