Explore Kozara National Park as a half-day trip from Banja Luka and understand the role of Tito’s partisans and their victim, in the fight for the freedom of the people of Yugoslavia, during the WWII.
Understand the message broadcasted by the concrete giant of Dušanja Džamonja, which is dedicated to the fallen Partisan fighters and civilians who died in the bloody offensive on Kozara in the spring of 1942.
Departure Times Standard departure time from Banja Luka is 9 AM. If needed tour can be adjusted to guests schedule.
Pickup Locations We shall pick you up at your desired location in Banja Luka. Please inform us if you are interested to in taking this tour from some other location.
Activity Note: This day (approx. 5hrs) is dedicated to understanding the role of Tito and Tito’s partisans and Yugoslavia itself in World War II.
In addition to historical facts, the tour abounds with interesting stories that touch on local mythology, art, contemporary art, and all those fields of life whose understanding is necessary to fully enjoy a visit to the Kozara National Park.
In the morning, more precisely at 9 AM in the morning we are picking you at your address in Banja Luka, and after some 45 minutes drive through the suburban parts of Banja Luka we shall arrive to the mountain Kozara.
Marked by the famous Kozara epic, mount Kozara is rich in dense deciduous and coniferous forests, clear streams, sources of drinking water, and today, in addition to the historical aspect, Kozara attracts more and more recreationists and athletes.
Due to the optimal height, with peaks not exceeding 1000m, Kozara is an ideal air spa, suitable for the treatment of various lung diseases. Pine, fir and beech forests give a beautiful ambience.
The central place of today’s visit to the mountain Kozara National Park will be Mrakovica, a place of memorial to the fighters who died in the Second World War.
>Kozara Memorial at Mrakovica is surrounded by beautiful pine forests
The Mrakovica memorial complex itself consists of several units.
The first part of the complex is a huge staircase that stretches through a pine forest, and by rising towards the monument itself, introduces us to the story of the suffering on Kozara. The psychological preparation of a slight ascent through the shade of a pine tree is perfectly staged.
When we reach the very top of the stairs, we are greeted by the main part of the memorial, a 33m high, 8m wide, cylindrical, concrete monolith, which represents the struggle between life and death, good and evil, and the rise of partisan resistance to the enemy, back in 1942.
That year, the German occupiers, together with troops of Ustaše and Četniks launched an offensive to remove partisan forces, led by Tito, which threatened communication in an area of great importance to the Axis powers. According to official data, the combined number of enemy soldiers was 40,000 versus 4,000 partisans, almost half of whom gave their lives, together with approximately 10.000 peasant civilians who aided the Partisan’s fight against the Axis.
Additionally it is estimated that an even greater number of civilians hiding in the Kozarac region were later sent to Jasenovac concentration camp, where most of them perished.
>Kozara Memorial monolith
The monolith is surrounded by horizontally placed concrete slabs that symbolize the invading enemy, who fails to break through, to the vertical path to the sky and conquer life.
In the very background of the memorial, there are plaques inscribed with the names of the Partisans who died during the “Kozara Epic”. It is a large sanctum area where the walls are covered with dozens of bronze plaques, listing the names of 9,921 fallen Partisan fighters who were killed on the territories of Kozara and Potkozarje during the Kozara Offensive.
Designed by Dušan Džamonja, and officially opened in 1972 by Tito, the Kozara Memorial has become a mandatory stopping point for every citizen of Yugoslavia, and until its breakup, over a million people used to visit Mrakovica every year.
>By the authors words, the monument is designed so that the twenty vertical segments that make up the cylindrical whole are assembled. Indented darker motifs or indentations covered with shadow, symbolize death, while the positives represent victory and life.
The last part of the memorial we will visit is the Mrakovica Museum, which was also designed by Dušan Džamonja. The museum was built in the modernist style in 1973, and contains various photographs, documents, objects, items, displays and exhibitions related to the events in the offensive on Kozara.
>Kozara Memorial Museum
After a detailed exploration of the Kozara Memorial and the entire region of Mrakovica, you are given free time to enjoy the mountain Kozara. If you are hungry, restaurants nearby are an ideal solution for a light lunch of local cuisine, for coffee or tea.
Return to Banja Luka is planned in the afternoon. Also, since the road back to Banja Luka passes near Banja Luka International Airport in Laktaši, this tour, in case you have an afternoon flight, can be perfectly connected so that instead of returning to Banja Luka, your destination is the airport.
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