The Balkan Sites of Memory

Jolanta Sujecka.

This paper aims to illustrate the functionality of the term "sites of memory" with reference to the study of two national canons with overlapping time-space continuum. I use the term as defined by A. Szpocinski (1986) but I give it a "territorial" dimension. By "sites of memory" I understand a past space-time continuum that embraces past events and their participants. Even in biblical times, places were named after events so to record for posterity their spiritual character (E. Dressler, 2003). The Akeda, or the offering of Isaac, took place on the Mount of "har-ha-Morija", which means "the Eternal One watches".

Mount Morija, i.e. the site itself, is in this case treated as the witness of the event.
The "sites of memory" analysed in this paper verbalise values that are treated by Bulgarian and Macedonian elites as an integral part of their identity. Owing to its connotations in both cultures, the concept of Macedonia determines the semantics of the image of Nikola Vapcarov, a poet belonging to both national canons. Vacparov as an image and symbol of the territory functions in both national circulations by token of his territorial association. Thus, the image of Vapcarov is a mythologem of Macedonia in two separate national canons, Macedonian and Bulgarian. An analysis of Vapcarov's poetry and his biography as part of the symbolic concept of Macedonia in both national cultures confirms at the same time the functionality of the term "sites of (collective) memory" with reference to phenomena, which emerge in the environment of cultural and ethnic contacts.