The idea of the Balkan Monumental Trail (BMT) is to explore and highlight hidden or forgotten monuments in the Western Balkans, with an emphasis on World War II heritage.
The justification for this cultural tourism route is that not only has this heritage, history and culture been little exposed to people outside this region, but also because numerous recent publications and artistic events have proven that there is great international (as well as domestic) interest in the topic of modernist monumental art and architecture across the WB6 region. This monumental heritage is a distinct and unique European resource in how it communicates the universal ideas of the region’s anti-fascist WWII history which is often little known internationally. Most importantly, while these ambitious and architecturally/artistically sophisticated monuments are often marginalised as tourism resources within the region they reside in, interest in them worldwide has been exponentially increasing over the last decade.
The entire proposed route is comprised of 40 monument sites spread across the WB economies: 7 in Albania, 11 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4 in Kosovo*, 5 in Montenegro, 5 in Republic of North Macedonia and 8 in Serbia. Twenty-five monuments are on the Primary route, 8 on the North West Bosnia and Herzegovina spur and 7 on the Albanian spur. The monument sites were chosen based on several key factors which primarily include the following integral concepts:
- Historical and cultural significance
- Visual impressiveness and architectural/artistic appeal
- The current condition and state of repair of the monument site
- Sites of great natural splendor and remarkable scenic beauty
- Sites which are not exclusively ideological in presentation In addition to the primary monument sites which will comprise the core of the Balkan Monumental Trail, additional tourist attractions/sites will be chosen to supplement the route using a similar selection criteria.
A pathway stretching thousands of kilometers across each of WB6 economies will be connecting each of these monument sites (and complementary tourist attractions).
While international interest in these fascinating monuments increases, there is, as of yet, little infrastructure or domestic guidance in place to facilitate the enjoyment, exploration or interpretation of this resource for tourists visiting the region. In addition, current cooperation and coordination between regions, municipalities and tourism service providers in relation to the monument sites is minimal. As a result, the RCC’s Triple P Tourism Project aims to create tourism infrastructure (tourism route, signage, marketing tools) and a network of partnerships that will serve as conduit for tourists to effectively engage with these monuments. Furthermore, as many of these monuments are located in areas far-flung from normal tourist paths, the creation of a Balkan Monumental Trail will bring economic stimulation to areas currently underserved by tourism traffic and also keep tourists in the region for a longer period of time.
This concept encompasses the historical and cultural significance of monumental sites, visual impressiveness, architectural and artistic appeal. Balkan Monumental Trail presents locations with great monumental complexes of exceptional beauty.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence