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Miners Monument

Mitrovica, Kosovo
1 of 7© Roberto Conte

The Miners Monument is situated in the Northern half of Kosovo, in the Serbian part of the town of Mitrovica. Two columns holding a mining cart represent the mining tradition of the city. The monument is a memorial to Mitrovica’s Albanian and Serbian miners who lost their lives during World War II, symbolizing unity between the ethnic groups. After Yugoslavia disbanding, tensions between Albanians and Serbs and the Kosovo war has caused the monument to lose some of its significance.

On the hill above Mitrovica, the Shrine to the Revolution, also known as the Miners’ Monument, rises tall. The landmark is impossible to overlook as it forms part of the city's silhouette from its strategic position. At the site itself, the visitor is astonished by the enormity of the brutalist structure and the beautiful panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. The miners' monument is composed of two massive conical concrete piers, the symbol of Albanian and Serbian miners, which support the stylised concrete minecart. The monument was erected in memory of the miners' revolt, who on 30th July 1941 blew up the supports for the cable car used to transport the ore from Stan Tërg mine to the foundry in Zvečan, which supplied the Nazi armament industry. To commemorate the memory of the miners' heroism, the sacrifice of the martyrs, and the victory of the revolution, the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia organised annual gatherings at the monument. After the fall of Yugoslavia and the war in Kosovo (1998-99), the monument was deprived of its meaning. It is dejected and abandoned both ideologically and materially by the Albanians, the Serbs, as well as local and state institutions. It is not a protected monument and no maintenance is carried out. The former symbol of fraternity and unity, the shared ideal of the Albanians and the Serbs, used to be a testament to the peaceful co-existence of two communities of post-WW2 Yugoslavia. Today, it represents an ethically divided city and is a derelict vestige of a forgotten past.