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Memorial Complex Kampor Rab

Rab, Croatia
1 of 41© Miran Kambič

Edvard Ravnikar is the author of numerous remembrance sites of the People's Liberation Struggle, which are designed as architectural compositions, typically without sculptures, and are intended chiefly to honour the victims, rather than to glorify the victors. The largest of these is the internee cemetery complex on the island of Rab, which was built on the initiative of Freedom Fighters' Association of Slovenia to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Italian concentration camp Kampor in which Slovenes, Croats and Jews were interred. The memorial complex, laid out on the site of the camp cemetery, lies at the bottom of the valley ending in the sea and is thus enveloped by fields and green banks on either side, while in the distance, there is the sea horizon with an outline of the island Krk. It is designed as a city of the dead, with walls separating it from its surroundings, with an entrance platform, the main procession path and with transversally arranged terraces and lines of graves, with a central platform for manifestations marked by a 12-metre obelisk, and a sole building at the end of the path called the Museum. Only a stone parabolic arch of the museum creates a symbolic shelter featuring a wall mosaic by painter Marij Pregelj and two showcases. The internee cemetery is a poignant meditative environment devoid of symbolic elements. The abstract design of the complex is informed by, as put by Ravnikar, "colour contrasts of the stone with the green of the surroundings and the blue of the sea, the relationship of the architecture's verticals with the horizontals of the sea, and the composed view connecting the existing landscape elements with new ones." The carefully composed views have since been overgrown by ample vegetation. The entire complex is built using only local stone, with lead clamps and steel cables ensuring the stability of the obelsk's and parabolic arch's constructions. The statue of the veteran standing outside the walls by the entrance was brought from the town of Rab in the 1990s. Municipality of Rab is responsible for the maintenance of the monument.

Architect takes us into the memory with the formation of the path and not the body of the monument. It is a poetics of decomposition stone wall as a symbolic border between life and death. Linear design of the central path is ending with the extension (square) and an obelisk, which is located in the axis of the lowest point of the hinterland. Along the path we find linearly parallel and transverse lined plates with the names of the victims. The central location of the settlement occupies a stone shed with mosaic of Marij Pregelj. It should be noted at extremely carefully designed details (front doors, paving and wall structure).