Military Cemetery in Minsk
Sculpture, monuments, memorials
The military cemetery in Minsk is an imperishable memory of the most courageous and talented Belarusian people. It’s a place, where the souls of the most significant Belarusian figures as well as of soldiers and all, who gave their lives in motherland’s glory, rest forever.
The first mention of the military cemetery dates back to 1840s. At that time it was a military burial place, which was located on the outskirts of Minsk. In 50 years the cemetery was so filled up, that it had to be closed. Consequently, an additional territory was joined to the cemetery, which came to be called a new Military burial place. It is uneasy to be misled and lose your way among the graves: the entire territory is separated with cross-shaped paths, which divide the cemetery into four parts. Each area belongs to some certain regiment.
In summer 1895 it was decided to hold a service for the dead in memory of all buried soldiers. The heads and representatives of all Minsk garrisons came to bid the killed soldiers farewell and to honour them with a minute of memory. At the paths crossing, military command and clergy raised a cross.
In the today’s territory of the cemetery there is Aleksander Nevski Church, which was built and consecrated in 1898. Initially it was to be built as a small chapel instead of a cross, but immediately these plans were not destined to come true. A bit later they decided to implement this idea and to erect a church-monument in the second half of the 20 century as a symbol of memory of all the killed warriors, who died in the years of war between the Russian and the Ottoman Empire.
After the end of the Great Patriotic War bodies of more than five hundred partisans, soldiers and officers were gathered in the military cemetery. Almost all of the representatives of Kolomenski regiment, who hadn’t returned alive from the battlefield, were buried there… Each grave in this military burial place is filled with tragedy.
Except for military servicemen, Minsk military cemetery land keeps in itself the bodies of the outstanding Belarusian figures. Well-known Belarusian poets and writers such as Pavlyuk Trus, Yakub Kolas, Kuzma Chyorny, Michail Klimkovich found their eternal peace. The first president of Science Academy of BSSR Vsevolod Ignatovski, a composer and an author of the music of our country’s coat of arms – Nestor Sokolovski, one of the leaders of BSSR Aleksander Cheryiakov also found their shelter just in this cemetery. Along with it, the name of the military has been kept after the cemetery until today.
You can see not only graves in the military cemetery, but there is also a khachkar – an Armenian monument, devoted to all the victims of Genocide in 1915. Khachkar symbolizes also a commemoration to the killed after the strongest Spitak earthquake in 1988.
Nowadays, the military cemetery is of great interest not only as a place of mass burials of soldiers and Belarusian culture, literature and art representatives, but also as a spiritual shelter for Orthodox, as there is a church here. It is possible to visit a service, to christen a child, to hold a wedding ceremony or simply to put a candle for repose or health. There is also an interesting story connected with the church. In wartime a shell fell on the church, but having gone through the dome, the shell fell near Saint Nicholas icon, but it didn’t burst.