In the land where people put ketchup on a pizza and use a strong alcoholic beverage rakija as a morning vitamin supplement, there are very few things left that can surprise us. Still, imagine driving through the endless meadows of Vojvodina and seeing a totally random statue of Rocky Balboa right next to the road in a small and indifferent village.
My first impression was to wonder if that was some kind of a joke or I’ve finally gone mad. This made me curious about the origin of the monument, and the following research revealed that not only there is absolutely no real reason for the statue to be there, but also there are a few more of them across other Balkan countries. Apparently we can add another thing that the Balkan countries have in common - peculiar statues of international celebrities, and politicians, that just don’t belong there.
I still have a hard time not laughing, even while just thinking of what can be a story of Rocky in Zitiste. Anyhow, he is there, and the statue has the same posture as the more famous Rocky statue in Philadelphia. It certainly serves the purpose to awaken interest and motivate travelers to stop, take a photo, and maybe even walk around this small village in Serbia.
“It's the eye of the tiger. Oh-ah-oh-ah-oh-bum-bum-bum-bum.”
The equally amusing idea for the monument comes from Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2005, a life-sized bronze statue of Bruce Lee was unveiled in the park Zrinjski.
At the time, even Bruce Lee felt the turbulence of recent conflicts as the statue was damaged days only after it was open. The young rebels stole Bruce Lee’s nuncakes, and I can’t help but laugh how they beat up the bronze statue of a martial artist.
The sculpture has traveled a bit since then, as a part of the arts festivals in Zagreb, but finally lays secure in the park in Mostar where it belongs.
Bob Marley became a permanent resident of another small village in northern Serbia - Banatski Sokolac. He is located in the yard of a middle school, symbolizing love and peace among the people. The statue was created as a part of Rock Village festival but now decorates the school yard and invites tourists to come, chill and take a photo.
Another big name visiting rural Balkans, this time village Fushe Kruje in Albania. George Bush statue was revealed in 2011., four years after former American president visited Albania. He passed through the small village, and it’s said that the statue lays on the very same spot where he came out of the car. Even though Bush is often high on the list of the most hated American presidents, he is one of the first officials to visit post-communist Albania, earning himself a statue.
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