Sunday, May 24, 2009

House of Flowers - House of Controversy

Sunday, May 24, 2009
Entrance to Kuća cveća

Fountain in front of the tomb


Kuća cveća, or the House of Flowers, is the place where controversial Yugoslav president lies. From his death, 04th May 1980, over 17 millions people visited his grave. In first few years long waiting lines were everyday picture in front of the House of Flowers, but now days the number of visitors is about 15.000 people a year, but with tendency to increase. At first, it was the part of the Memorial Center Josip Broz Tito, which included his residence area (consisted of residence, the Residence, The Pool House, The Hunting Lodge, The Old Museum and, later the Memorial Collection) and museum "25th May". Many valuable exhibits, including gifts from foreign sovereigns and presidents to Tito were displayed as part of the permanent exhibition, but during 1990's, former Serbian president Milošević decided to move in the residential area (fortunately, he's not there any more) and a large part of exhibition became unavailable for public.

The House of Flowers was built in 1974, when Tito was alive, as a closed glass winter garden, which he used for work and leisure. He was buried in House of Flowers, by his own wish.

Every 4th May, there is something interesting going on in this place - on 25th anniversary of Tito's death 340 pilgrims came by foot all the way from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to honor his grave. There is also one regular annual pilgrim, which started several years ago - a large group of bikers, members of motorcycling club "Orel" from Slovenia, come to visit the House of Flowers and put flowers on the grave, on 25th May, the date which was celebrated as Tito's birthday and the Youth Day. If you happen to come on one of those dates, you can witness many interesting accidents and scenes - from really devastated people, crying for him and "good old days", to angry people putting thorns instead of flowers and asking "the vampire" to "leave us alone".

It is easy to reach the House of Flowers, but it is hard to find parking space nearby, because it is surrounded by residences, museum and park. It is about 5 km from the center, so the best is to go there by public transport - trolley buses from the center are very frequent (take No. 40 and 41). The entrance is free on two dates: May 4th, Tito's death anniversary, and May 25th, Tito's birthday (fake one, made up during his Partisan's days, but this one was celebrated) celebrated as the Youth Day. Ticket is about 2,5 € and it's valid for two surrounding museums as well (25. maj and the Old museum).

The House of Flowers has lost its old luxury, but still keeps its charisma.

People that came to pay respect to late president Tito

1980's Baton - the year when Tito died and my school (and me) took part in Slet event

Chinese room

Tito's working room


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