We recently discovered this collection of images of abandoned soviet monuments and were amazed at how similar our discovery of them was to the apes’ discovery of the monolith in 2001: a Space Odyssey. They look foreign and futuristic and, if we were standing in front of them, we’d surely react to them with fear, trepidation and a healthy dose of bone-waving.

The stunning photographs were taken by Jan Kempenaers, whose childhood spent in the (ex-)Yugoslavian region made him the perfect tour guide of today’s countries like Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina where these now-dilapidated structures reside.

The Crack Two blog gives us even more historical info on the man-made, Eastern European equivalents of Stonehenge: “These structures were commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place (like Tjentište, Kozara and Kadinjača), or where concentration camps stood (like Jasenovac and Niš). They were designed by different sculptors (Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živković, Jordan and Iskra Grabul, to name a few) and architects (Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković…), conveying powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. In the 1980s, these monuments attracted millions of visitors per year, especially young pioneers for their “patriotic education.” After the Republic dissolved in early 1990s, they were completely abandoned, and their symbolic meanings were forever lost.”