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Smaliavicki rajon, Belarus

Mound of Glory

A striking Soviet memorial commemorates the liberation of Belarus from the Nazis.  

Anyone heading toward or out of Minsk on the Minsk-Moscow highway can hardly miss the dramatic bayonet-shaped obelisks towering over the road, a little outside the city. The unusual-looking Mound of Glory memorial honors the soldiers that fought and died in the Second World War, and is a tribute to an important victory in Soviet history, Operation Bagration, which liberated the region from the Nazis in 1944. 

The memorial complex was built in 1969 to mark the 25th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from the German forces. The operation was carried out by four fronts of the Soviet Army, and their heroism is celebrated through the four tall bayonets, surrounded by a huge ring. The inside of the ring is decorated by mosaic tributes. The more striking outer side depicts the faces of soldiers and military symbols. 

The 230-feet mound it’s built on has its own significance—it was formed using scorched soil from “hero cities,” a Soviet honorary title for places that showed great courage during the period of German occupation. 

Visitors can walk up to the top of the structure to take a closer look at the ring and the bayonets. The memorial is a solemn structure, a reminder of a war where thousands of lives were lost, but its height and scenic overlook have made it a popular spot for newlyweds to snap pictures. 

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