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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

An Obelisk? A Minaret? Just What and Where is this Weird Column? - Updated with KT43 Winner

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

KesterTester 44 - Hidden away in leafy surrounds, I came upon this scene in Oct, 2009.

I've only just discovered this piccie, buried away on the saved remnants of an old PC hard drive - I'd forgotten it altogether.

You'd think this is so exotic that the image would be well known ... but I can't remember seeing it anywhere myself. It's somewhere in central-eastern Europe, but where?

OK, soft ol me - just to help you, it's somehwere in Hungary, and I should imagine it's still there. But where?

There's still time to send in your answer to KT 43 Tu Je Jugoslavija - I'll update this text here tomorrow morning with the results.

Your thoughts as to the wheres and whats via the website system or an email. Have a good weekend!

Update: The results of KT43 - Tu Je Jugoslavija

​First up was Alex Faludy, who bravely proffered: “I am guessing that it is the first building in border town after you leave the frontier post. This is Serbo-Croat but written in the Latin script. So it must be somewhere in Slovenia or Croatia close to the border with Hungary.”

Good try, Alex, but read on - it's a bit more complicated than that. Sándor Németh pitched in too: “This is obviously impossible to find out <Hmm, see later!> but I hope I can make an (intelligent) guess. "So, judging from the shutters of the house and the oleander branches in front of them, this place could be somewhere on the seaside, in a loosely-bound member state, where federal branding matters a lot. Maybe Trieste or Koper." We are definitely getting closer here with those two Istrian port towns – so you win this week's intelligent guess plus arboreal observer cross, Sándor. (That's just one beer :))

Of course, ex-Yugoslav citizens are likely to have a better idea of what this is all about.

Zoki, originally from Novi Sad, thought she would have a crack. “I was intrigued by your question. I thought the building with saying “ Tu je YU” was in Jajce [Bosnia], it would make sense however the style of building seemed more like down the coast. Actually I found out it is in a mountain village in Slovenia? "Thanks for your quiz, I learned something new!”

There may be more, Zoki! I suppose you originally reasoned Jajce as it was where Tito declared the establishment of Yugoslavia in 42? Then you reckoned it was a mountain village in Slovenia. OK, but which one, and why? Actually, this is not in what anyone would call a mountain village, I don't think, certainly not in Slovenia where there are 'real' mountains, for sure. Next in was Marja, from Ljubljana. Well, she's more on the spot, and knows her Yugoslav-Slovene history, so this helps a lot.

“The photo must be from one of the villages near Trieste or Gorizia, be it on the Italian or the Slovenian side. There were many such messages all over the place after WW2, before the border line between Yugoslavia and Italy was determined.” Aha! Now here's the rub. Indeed, this is in a village in what was deemed 'disputed territory' after WW2. In essence, what happened was that, after WW1, a whole chunk of what is today western Slovenia and parts of today's Croatia were awarded to Italy (this was the carrot offered to Italy to enter the war on the side of the allies). There was some justice in this, as the coastal areas were historically Venetian, but the inland areas were mostly Slavic. And between the wars, the Italians under Mussolini were brutal to the Slavs under their control. So, come the end of WW2, the allies had to decide on new border lines more in line with the ethnicity of the local peoples. Thus, for some years, their fate was undecided, and as Marja notes, many made a public display of where they wanted to be – one or two of which survive to this day. Minutes after Marja's email, Ian Wraight weighed in. Now Ian is a Brit, but lives in Slovenia (albeit near Ptuj, the other end of the country) with his Slovene wife. He confidently stated: “[House] 77 Solkan, Gonjače, Goriška Brda,” following up with: “The supplement to the quiz: Approximately when was the proclamation/slogan written? And in which country did the house stand when it was thus inscribed?

"a) Italy (i.e. 1919-1945) b) Yugoslavia (i.e. 1945 -1991) c) Slovenia (1991-today) d) Austria (Habsburg Empire) (before 1919)”

That is pretty good, Ian. To be honest, I'd forgotten where this house was exactly, and I thought it was in Dobrovo or Medana, but with google maps, of course, we can check, and you seem to have nailed it.

However, I do wonder if your timeline is a wee bit inaccurate, however, since this particular area was deemed part of so-called Zone A after June, 1945 for some time (years?), and along with Trieste was administered by British and American forces. (Zone B was administered by Yugoslavia.)

Hence the need for local support to be part of Yugoslavia was more important in Slovene-populated villages within Zone A. This, at least, is implied in the Wikipedia pages on the vexed issue of the Yugoslav-Italian border.

The irony of all this is that approximately 40 years after local Slovenes daubed such slogans onto the fronts of their homes, Slovenia (along with Croatia) was the first to opt out of Yugoslavia in 1991. Anyway, we now thankfully live in more peaceful times, and the Italians in Friuli and Slovenes in Goriška Brda happily cooperate and can wander freely across the border as it meanders through the vineyards that occupy the gardens of more or less every home. (And I'm very grateful to my friends Igor and Metka for guiding me through this beautiful area in 2007.) Congratulations to everyone who had a go, and especially to Ian Wraight, who has to be declared winner of the very tough KesterTester 43 for his highly successful sleuthing! Just be aware that global celebrity status has its drawbacks, Ian - prepare for fans knocking on the door at all hours of day and night wanting selfies! :) And that'll be two Laškos next time I come by Ptuj! :)

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