Ilinden Uprising Monument

Top choice Monument

in North Macedonia
Image by roibu / Getty Images
Image by roibu / Getty Images

This 1974 monument, commemorating the Ilinden Uprising from 1903, is a marvel of Yugoslav architecture and a fantastic example of abstract historic symbolism. Designed by Prilep architects Iskra and Jordan Grabul, and commonly known as Makedonium, this otherworldly globular structure is meant to represent a 15th-century warrior mace. Inside is a series of stained-glass windows and abstract sculptures, each marking a turning point in North Macedonia's history.

The Ilinden Uprising was the country's first step towards sovereignty. Kruševo became home to the short-lived Macedonian Republic, founded by revolutionaries, on 2 August 1903; the republic was strangled by the Ottoman Empire just 10 days later. The uprising is marked by a celebration known as Ilinden on 2 August each year.

Before you reach the main structure you will pass a series of giant metal chain links being pried apart one by one, representing the loosening of Ottoman shackles on the Macedonian people. After this, progress along a path to a circular field of symbolic concrete cannons engraved with the names of the soldiers and important revolutionaries that fell in battle. The monument's guardian will be happy to guide you through more of the symbolism if it's quiet.

Kruševo itself is a pleasant little mountainside town, well off the tourist trail. If you want to stay the night, look for signs advertising sobi (rooms) around the old town. Kruševo-Skopje buses run three times a day (410MKD, three hours).