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Belarus: Mount of Glory

Mission accomplished image

Mount of Glory | Belarus | Europe

[Visited: May 2014]

On my way from the airport to the city of Minsk, our bus turns left on the main Moscow-Minsk highway at a major crossroads. I see a monument with tall silver points before we enter the highway and leave the intersection behind: we have just passed the Mount of Glory. The next day, on my way back from a sobering visit to Khatyn, instead of taking the road back to Minsk, I make a detour, and drive to the Mount of Glory monument. Roadsigns are not necessary: it is clearly visible from all directions. I park my car right next to a row of Soviet tanks with red stars on their sides. From here, I walk a concrete path around the small park that has been created at the foot of the man-made hill. When I reach the foot of the hill, broad stairs lead up to a platform at the foot of the hill.

Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): A man-made grassy hill with the monument for the victory of the Great Patriotic War on top

Here, I take some time to sit down and read about the monument that now towers high above me. As part of the Soviet Union, Belarus suffered badly during the Second World War, normally referred to here as the Great Patriotic War, and war monuments and memorials can be found everywhere in the country. The Mount of Glory monument, as the name suggests, is about the ultimate victory of the Soviet Army and the partisans, and was constructed close to the location where the last battle on Belorussian soil was fought in 1944. It was erected on the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus in 1969. Operation Bagration, which secured the liberation of Belarus, is considered the worst defeat by German forces during the war.

Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): The Soviet army is praised for its victory in the Great Patriotic War

From the platform, there are stairs on both sides of the pyramidal hill, and I take the left one, which circles the grass-covered hill, offering always different perspectives on the monument on its very top. Four titanium-covered bayonets point to the sky, each bayonet representing one of the fronts on which the Soviet army and partisans fought the invaders. A circle at the base of the monument turns out to be covered by sculptures of soldiers and partisants with grim, determined faces. When I reach the monument and walk into the circle, I see a big plaque with the iconic Soviet hammer-and-sickle, and a text in mosaic praising the Soviet army for its efforts. The bayonets are still high above me. No eternal flame here, no flags, but instead, free views on all sides to the liberated lands of Belarus.

Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Detailed view of the golden circle with faces of soldiers
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Closer look at the monument with four bayonets and sculpted faces of soldiers
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Four bayonets pointing to the sky with Soviet symbol and text inside the circle
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Soviet symbolism at the base of the four bayonets
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Four bayonets point to the sky with the inside of the golden circle
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Stairs leading up the grassy hill to the monument
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Soldier sculpted on the golden circle of the monument
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Glorious text about the Soviet army inside the golden circle, the base of the monument
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): The solemn faces of soldiers and partisan fighters outside the circle which is the base of the monument
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): The monument stands on a grassy man-made hill
Picture of Mount of Glory (Belarus): Soviet tanks with the monumental Mount of Glory in the background

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