Mound of Glory
A superb example of a Soviet monument commemorating the USSR
's victory in the Great Patriotic War (i.e. WWII
) against Nazi Germany
, located outside Minsk
More background info:
The Mound of Glory, or Glory Mound, outside Minsk
is a memorial complex constructed for the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus
from Nazi German
occupation in 1944. Construction had begun in 1967 and the memorial was inaugurated in time for the anniversary in 1969.
The Mound that the central monument stands atop of allegedly contains soil from the various “Hero Cities” of the Soviet Union
, of which Minsk
is one (others include Murmansk
The Mound is said to make up about half of the overall height of the monument of 230 feet (70 m), although it appears higher than the spire at the top. This spire is supposed to resemble four bayonets raised up in unison, and symbolizes the four Soviet armies that were victorious at this spot during “Operation Bagration” (that's the code name for the Soviet offensive to drive out the German occupiers, who had a pocket of defending resistance here before being overcome by the Soviets).
What there is to see:
I actually saw this monument three times when I was in Belarus
in the summer of 2016: first from the air as my plane made its approach to Minsk airport, then en route to Minsk
from my airport transfer – and then as part of a private tour (see below
The perfectly conical Glory Mound can be climbed using one of two sets of 241 steps each that ascend to the top in a curve (like half a spiral) so it's not too steep.
The monument at the top consists of four metal-clad needles representing bayonets of rifles, and a concrete ring in front of the base. This ring is elevated from ground level by about 10 feet (2 m) and ca. 35 feet (10 m) in diameter.
On the outside this ring is adorned with bas-relief faces of stern-looking soldiers, pilots and partisans. The inside of the ring is covered with mosaics praising the victorious Soviet
armies in Russian plus a Soviet red star with a hammer-and-sickle symbol. It's all very classic socialist-realist
in style, but still a rather unusual shape with that ring “hovering” over the southern slope of the Mound.
At the foot of the Mound looking south is a ceremonial square with a flag pole and another commemorative plaque.
By the car park next to a cafe (itself also of rather unusual architecture, and painted a garish turquoise) is an open-air display of five Soviet tanks plus a few pieces of light artillery. As usual the tanks are mostly used by kids as a playground, as something to clamber about on.
All in all, there's not that much to see here, but the monument is definitely worth the short stop.
At the intersection of the M2 motorway with the P80 and P53 trunk roads near the village of Slabada, some 16 miles (25 km) north-east of Minsk
on the main route from the airport, which is another 12 miles (18 km) further to the south-east from the monument.
Google maps locator:
Access and costs: by car or as part of a guided tour; freely accessible as such, but guided tours are expensive.
You either need to have your own means of transport for the drive here – or go there as part of a guided tour. I had booked a private combination
tour to Khatyn
which included the stop by the Mound of Glory on the way back to Minsk
. Such a ca. 4-hour tour costs in the region of 130 USD.
As such, the monument complex is freely accessible at all times. It's only the getting there that will cost you.
Time required: Not long, perhaps half an hour for climbing to the top, having a good look around and descending again, plus a few minutes for the tanks, if you are interested in such things.
Combinations with other dark destinations:
A stop by the Glory Mound can quite easily be combined with a tour to the Khatyn memorial
– or with a private transfer to/from Minsk airport. For me it was slotted in en route back from Khatyn and our lunch stop in Minsk
, before heading out again to the Stalin Line
. So it fits in neatly if you are ready to invest in such a half or full day guided tour.
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
Nothing in the immediate vicinity – but see under Minsk
- Glory Mound 1 - in full glory
- Glory Mound 2 - seen from the air
- Glory Mound 3 - from the bottom of the artificial hill
- Glory Mound 4 - at the top
- Glory Mound 5 - Soviet star
- Glory Mound 6 - Soviet army glory
- Glory Mound 7 - glorious faces
- Glory Mound 8 - looking down
- Glory Mound 9 - Soviet tanks by the cafe