They may seem like the remains of an extraterrestrial civilization, but these structures are actually brutalist monuments and war monuments found in Central and Southeastern Europe.
The architectural astonishment – some of which have now been abandoned – are captured in a series of beautiful photos by British photographer Mark O’Neill.
The Berkshire photographer’s obsession with brutalism in former Yugoslavia and the surrounding countries began in 2011 when he visited Bulgaria with his parents.
The intriguing monument to the revolution of the people in Croatia overlooks the small town of Podgarić
The amazing Memorial House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, on Buzludzha Peak, was built “as a tribute to the socialist movement in Bulgaria,” according to a website dedicated to the building, and opened in 1981. It is now abandoned and the interior is covered with graffiti. Yet people from far and wide travel to this UFO-like miracle
It is possible to get one tour from the Buzludzha monument. The spectacular view is one of the attractions
The Gligino Brdo monument in Bosnia stands at 10 meters high (32 feet) and has the shape of a flower, but vandalism and graffiti are both visible on the outside at the bottom
The beautiful Spomen park in Serbia has a monument of tunnels and large triangular structures, all founded in 1981 to pay tribute to partisans who were taken over by the Germans in World War II
This quirky monument near Makljen, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was built in 1978 and built to pay tribute to Partisans who were killed during the Battle of the Wounded (the Battle of Neretva) in 1943
“The unusual structures work well with my photography style and are visually impressive, but I was absorbed by the stories behind the monuments,” said Mark.
“Many of them have fallen victim to their political environment in former war zones and bear the scars to show it. Some were subject to military occupation during the Balkan conflicts and it is not unusual to find bullet holes and used ammunition around the sites. “
Mark’s photos include incredible photos of whimsical rock structures and huge, imposing monuments whose glory has faded over time. Some create horrifying clues about a war-destroyed past, while others are either destroyed or left to rot.
The famous Petrova Gora monument in Croatia was built in 1981 on the highest peak of the eponymous mountain range and is a tribute to those who died in the Second World War
The 65ft Memorial for the Detachment in the Brezovica Forest of Croatia was built after the death of the original elm tree that grew on the site of a monument from the Second World War
The whimsical, symmetrical Tjentište monument in Bosnia commemorates the Battle of Sutjeska in 1943 when the Axis Powers attacked Partisans
Due to its remote location and protected status in a national park, the Monument to the Revolution in Bosnia escaped vandalism during the war-torn nineties
The Monument to fallen soldiers in Serbia all has whimsical, geometric shapes that impressively emerge
The Stone Sleeper monument in the Šumarice Memorial Park in Serbia takes the form of haystacks, as a tribute to farmers and farmers who were massacred by the Nazis in World War II
The large Bulgarian-Soviet friendship monument in Varna is an outdated brutalist relic built to embody the communist regimes of the countries
The beautiful Barutana – Monument to the fallen of the Lješanska Nahija region – stands proud as a huge tree with mountain ranges in the background
This slender, curved stone structure in Grmeč in Bosnia and Herzegovina – the Monument to the Revolution – is reflected in an adjacent lake
This beautiful interior photo of the Monument to the Revolution reveals broken stones and moss-covered walls
Mark trained his lens in places such as the Battle of Sutjeska Memorial Monument Park – located in what is now Bosnia – which paid homage to Communist leader Tito but became a minefield during the devastating Balkan wars between 1991 and 2001.
Other monuments and buildings – such as the 12-storey Petrova Gora monument in Croatia – were also used by the army during the conflicts.
They are all now empty, in disrepair or ready for restoration, thanks to a new increase in interest and popularity for Brutalist masterpieces.
Mark has captured these amazing pieces of history both during the day and at night, with some of the more astonishing results after he camped in the dark to make the perfect ghostly shot.
The Kosmaj memorial complex in Serbia is home to this beautiful star-shaped structure, which Mark photographed against an even starry sky
Mark often uses flares that are carried on his head to produce stunning effects, such as this photo taken in the Šušnjar monument complex in Bosnia
The stunning Stone Flower monument in Croatia was built in 1966 and dedicated to victims of atrocities committed in Jasenovac concentration camp, a camp run by the Croatian government in a competition with Nazi Germany
The huge and ominous Viktorovac cemetery monument in Sisak, Croatia, pictured here pointing to the night sky
Abandoned or neglected locations such as the Stratište Memorial Complex in Jabuka, Serbia, create extremely creepy images, especially when taken at night
Monuments – or ‘spomeniks’ – are scattered throughout the former Yugoslavia and offer a sobering reminder of the war-torn past of the old country
“I like to take pictures between sunset and sunrise,” he continued. “With light as a medium for photography, the night becomes my empty canvas and gives me creative freedom.
‘Using a flashlight to illuminate structures, I can select the individual elements that I want to work with and combine my lighting with the effects of long exposure to create a surreal aesthetic. Visiting these places at night also entails a completely different element than exploring a foreign country. “