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The memorial park at Koroška Bela

The memorial park at Koroška Bela Foto: Aleš Košir

The area of the former cemetery in the western part of Koroška Bela was converted into a memorial park in 1974 and was named The Hostages Park. The landscape architecture of The Hostages Park was designed by the architectural engineer Gregor Velepec. On the crafted bridge in the park, a bronze sculpture is erected depicting the motif of five hostage bodies, merging into the stylised figure of a flower, created by Jaka Torkar, an academy-trained painter and sculptor and an honorary citizen of the Municipality of Jesenice.

In the western part of Koroška Bela, by the Ivan Cankar road, a park stands today – a public monument to the memorial heritage comprising a public monument of local significance, a memorial park, a cemetery and a burial site from World War 2.

Situated under Koroška Bela village, there used to be a cemetery on this location, enclosed with a stone wall, where the local residents buried their relatives in 1893–1961. In 1961, the municipal assembly adopted a resolution to abandon the cemetery as a new location at Blejska Dobrava was selected as the site for the cemetery for the town of Jesenice and the surrounding area. Some relatives moved the graves of their deceased from the cemetery at Koroška Bela to the new location at Blejska Dobrava. The cemetery equipment, such as the room for storing coffins and burial tools, tombstones, the cemetery wall and the cross were removed. The cemetery cross was moved to the Sts. Ingenuin and Albuin Church, where it still stands today.

In 1974, the cemetery at Koroška Bela was converted into a memorial park with a green area and was named The Hostages Park. The landscape architecture of The Hostages Park is the work of Gregor Velepec, architectural engineer. The architect's conception of the inviolability of the land is designed as a circular bridge arching over the burial site and stairs that connect the upper and lower parts of the park, with two semicircular cutouts and a part of the authentic cemetery wall with a memorial plaque as a silent witness to the hostage shooting event of September 4, 1941, in Koroška Bela. The designed bridge serves as the base of a 3m high bronze sculpture and the motif of five bodies merged into the stylised figure of a flower, which was sculpted by academy-trained painter Jaka Torkar.

On the green, where the upper part of the former village cemetery was situated, a memorial stone was later erected as a sign for the cemetery at Koroška Bela, which was built in 1893 and abandoned in 1961.

In 2006, the Ordinance designating cultural monuments of local significance in the Municipality of Jesenice was adopted, with the aim of preserving the cultural, historical, urban, ethnological and art historical values and ensuring the continued existence of a public monument with a name that marks the entire history of the town or space: “The Memorial Park at Koroška Bela, HRN 5376”.

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