Balkan trivia: Who's afraid of the naked man?

2 minutes to read

I will share with you a story of two similar mentalities. The same situation twice, but two different approaches to solve the conflict. Most important, two different time periods.

First story: Belgrade, 1912

The first story takes place in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The story begins in 1912, when the author Ivan Meshtorovic decided to put a sculpture of a nude male on a central spot in Belgrade, Terazije. This monument is supposed to be a symbol of triumph over the Ottoman empire. It took more than 15 years for the author and the people in Belgrade to find a compromise for placing this monument. The ladies of Belgrade loudly protested against exposing a naked male in the center of the city. The solution had to respond to this requirement- they placed the monument on a hill, away from the original plan.

In 1928, the sculpture named "Victor" was placed on a five-story column, as a symbol of triumph over the slavery under the Turks at Kalemegdan (the largest park and the most important historical monument in Belgrade). It is often used as a symbol of Belgrade. It is very debatable whether the sculpture of a man is set intentionally in the direction of Austria.

Second story: Skopje, 2012

Near 400 km southern and 100 years after "Victor", a nude male sculpture was placed in Zena Park in Skopje, capital of Macedonia.

The sculpture of a prominent mythological hero of Prometheus set in a park, across the Macedonian Parliament, was given pants.

This is what the media was writing then, and before we believed in this fiasco, it became real! The Municipality of Centar forced the author, the sculptor Tome Adzievski, to put pants on Prometheus because it was allegedly demanded by some woman organizations. They objected that the statuette stood in a park frequented by many women and children.

All was done. Prometheus got underwear. The reason why Prometheus is chosen to be placed in this park is not certain. At least we know the story behind his panties.

In the first story, demanders achieved to move the sculpture, while in the other they forced some pants on him. You can’t be bored on the Balkans. That is the only truth I can claim in this moment.

(the before and after photo of Prometheus sculpture was taken from Bulgarian site, Glasove)

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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