Goryani Memorial

The architectural concept for the memorial aims to create a communicative space, which honours the perished goryani and bring the following generations closer to their unbreakable spirit. The concept is developed based on the historical events related to the Goryani Movement in Kresna in 1947-1948.

The squad of Gerasim Todorov was one of the many in the armed resistance against the Communist government in mid-20th century. The squad was formed in the spring of 1947 mainly aiming “to work among the people and protect the Bulgarian spirit” in Pirin Macedonia. In the beginning of 1948 the squad consisted of 42 men. In a protest letter Gerasim Todorov openly stated: ‘Better glorious death than life in disgrace’. The men left their homes and started an illegal life in the woods. They were called goryani (lit. ‘men from the forest’). They swore ‘…to the Bulgarian people to struggle for its liberation so that liberty and democracy in the motherland should triumph…’. In March 1948 the Blagoevgrad militia started a mass armed action. According to the official archives, during the action were killed seven men, 31 were arrested, and only four escaped the blockade. But the goryani were not forgotten.

The memorial is formed by stone pillars – interpretation of tree trunks in the forest. The life of the goryani was taken but their faith in liberty and democracy still lives. The stone forest keeps the memory of the people – of each father, brother, husband, relative – their names are cut into the stone elements. The memorial is situated as an integral part of the green areas, among the trees at the town square in Kresna.

  • Authors:
    Atelier 3: Miroslav Velkov, Donika Georgieva
  • Year: 2013
  • Client: Union of the Oppressed by the Communist Terror
  • Status: in progress