Park of Peace

The idea for a sculpture park at Štibuh originated during the seventies, at the time of the large international exhibition under the auspices of the United Nations called “Peace 75-30 UN”. The organizational committee of the exhibition in the Slovenj Gradec gallery developed the idea for a park, a space located in nature, called Freedom Grove, in which sculptures from various nations made of permanent materials would be placed, with the mission of realizing “the brightest ideals of the United Nations”. In the Freedom Grove, they wanted to collect sculptural works donated either by statesmen or states, artists or artist associations, not only from Yugoslavia but from other countries as well.

The first sculpture in the park was a gift by the then-president of Yugoslavia, Tito, who donated a sculpture from his personal collection by the Croatian painter Ivan Sabolić. The statue was ceremonially revealed in the park in 1977. The architect Marjan Gnamuš designed the so-called amphitheatre, and Sabolić’s sculpture, encased in a granite bloc, was placed at its centre. The sculpture “United” by Drago Tršar was a gift from the citizens of Slovenj Gradec, set up in the park in 1978. Afterwards, other sculptures followed: in 1979, “Persephone” by Ivan Meštrović was put up, cast with the permission of the Meštrović Gallery in Split specifically for this purpose. Other sculptures were gifts by other Yugoslavian republics: “Cherry Blossom” by Ratko Vulanović was donated in 1981 by Montenegro, the stone “Fruit” by Ana Bešlić came from Serbia, the bronze sculpture “Bread and Seeds” by Josip Diminić from Croatia. “The Kiss” by Jovan Soldatović from Vojvodina was ceremonially unveiled in the park in 1984. The final sculpture that completed the park collection in 1986 is “Spiral Trace”, the last work by Macedonian sculptor Jordan Grabulovski.

The sculpture park at Štibuh was renamed several times across different periods: from Freedom Grove to Park of Peace. The last change in the park occurred in 2005, when the City Municipality of Slovenj Gradec, together with its twinned cities of Český Krumlov, Hauzenberg, Vöcklabruck and Gornji Milanovac, planted the so-called »trees of partner-city friendship«.