The memorial complex «The Mound of Glory» in detail: its history, legend and architecture

The memorial complex «The Mound of Glory» in detail: its history, legend and architecture

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History of the Mound of Glory

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When they were children many Belarusians believed that if on a clear day you climb up to the roof of one of the multi-storey buildings on the eastern outskirts of Minsk, you can see the bayonets of the Mound of Glory shining in the sun. This is most likely a beautiful legend, because this monument is located quite far away - on the 21st kilometre of the Minsk-Moscow highway. 

It was there that one of the key battles for the liberation of Belarus, Operation Bagration, took place in July 1944. Later it was called the «Minsk Boiler» because it had become possible to surround and defeat a group of 105 thousand fascist troops in that battle. 

In November 1967, people gathered from all over the big country and brought a handful of land from the battlefields. In this way people wanted to contribute to the construction of a truly popular memorial. Later, construction equipment arrived to the mound and it rose 35 metres high (the height of a 12-storey house). And all in all, the total height of it with bayonets is 70.6 metres! 

Features of architecture 

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During the creation of the memorial the sculptors Andrei Bembel and Anatoly Artimovich, the architects Oleg Stakhovich and Lev Mitskevich kept in mind the ancient tradition of raising mounds in memory of the most famous and respected people. And although it is not a burial site, soldiers' helmets, shells, casings and the remains of soldiers were found when the memorial was erected. Some artifacts are now kept in the Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War.

The project turned out to be unique - a 30-metre pillar foundation was laid inside the mound to prevent the monument from sinking or bending. And in order to avoid landslides, as the slope is quite steep - 35 degrees - it is covered with special grass, which creates a strong frame of the mound with the roots. By the way, a capsule with an appeal to the descendants is laid inside. 

It is worth telling about the staircase that surrounds the hill. They said that it was designed by Pyotr Masherov who was the head of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic at that time. In fact, it was not like that, although Pyotr Masherov promoted the creation of the Mound of Glory in the most active way.  The engineer Valery Laptsevich, as he now remembers, designed a separate attachment for each step and the entire process of creating the stairs took two months. 

About the symbolism 

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Although three bayonets were originally planned, the Mound is crowned with four. This is the image of three legendary Belarusian fronts plus the Baltic Front. There is a ring at the foot of the bayonets on the inner surface of which it is written: «Glory to the Soviet Army, the Liberation Army!». And on the outer side of the ring there are seven moldings which symbolize the participants in the war - a young partisan, an old partisan, a pilot, a sailor, a tanker and young and old infantrymen. 

On 1 July 2004 the memorial complex was reconstructed and reopened to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi invaders. 

Next to the Mound of Glory, in the open air, there is military equipment that participated in the World War II. The Mound of Glory is not only popular with tourists (about 4000 people from all over the world climb up the Mound during the year). There is a tradition of laying flowers at the memorial for newlyweds. The graduates of the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus also hold festive events here every year. 

To visit the Mound of Glory and not to count the stairs while climbing up is like not being on top of it. Many people lose count - but we will tell you in confidence: there are 241 of them. By the way, many people believe that if you climb up on a clear day, you can see Minsk shining in the rays of the sun from the height of the Mound of Glory. 

How to get to the Mound of Glory 

The Mound of Glory is a symbol of the history of the World War II and it is as significant for all Belarusians as the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the Brest Fortress and Khatyn. To visit it is to pay tribute to the memory of every third Belarusian who died in that war. Each of you can do this. 

We recommend several proven methods: