The Monument of Freedom is a grand monument dedicated to the fight for freedom of the Macedonian people from the Ilinden Uprising to the People’s Liberation War, located on Lokubija Hill in Kochani, at an altitude of 524 meters.
The construction of the monument began in 1975 and was funded by the Assembly of the Municipality of Kochani and the citizens through a self-governing agreement. A public competition was announced in which a large number of authors from former Yugoslavia applied, and the panel selected the authors Radovan Ragjenovikj and Gligor Chemerski. The facility was inaugurated on the Republic’s Day – November 28, 1981.
Radovan Ragjenovic (1940) is a famous Macedonian architect, author of a number of buildings in the country, Russia, Ukraine and Iraq. Gligor Chemerski (1940 – 2016) was a renowned Macedonian painter and sculptor with impressive works of art for which he was awarded both in the country and abroad.
He was also a member of the Department of Arts at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
The monument is a large complex of open wall structures placed around a central amphitheatre. The construction resembles the remains of a temple and is completely open to nature, forming an ambient whole with the surroundings and the wider horizon. The mosaics designed by Gligor Chemerski are placed on the walls – a total of nine, covering an area of 335 m2. The mosaics show significant moments of the liberation fight of the Macedonian people (the frieze depicts Freedom, resistance is presented through Ilinden, Revolution, altar of the victims, etc.). It is one of the largest mosaics in the country that impresses with the dynamic expression of colors and movement, as well as the abstract figures used. In the composition, Chemerski combines elements from Macedonian history, folklore, but also religious and mythical elements.
The space of the memorial complex is often used for various ceremonial events and performances, but it has often been the target of hooligans.
Renowned Belgrade architect Bogdan Bogdanovic says of the Kocani Memorial Complex: “At a time when Europe and Yugoslavia thought everything was said on the subject of grand monuments, in Kochani new initiatives have occurred, linking the monumental art to ancient time, its preceding and succeeding period, to the present-day, recognizing not only the presence but also the future. “Master, you become a protomaster now.”