Wandering Camera

Album 174
(Translated b
y Ingerid Maria Opdahl)


The two next albums are devoted to the Piskaryov Memorial Cemetery, where 470,000 civilian inhabitants from the Leningrad blockade and 100,000 soldiers from the Leningrad front are buried.
It is very different from ordinary cemeteries, and, thanks to talented architects, it makes a strong impression.


The memorial is situated in the northeast of the city, on Prospekt Nepokoryonnykh (Avenue of the Undefeated).

It was made according to a design by A.V. Vasiliev (his project won the competition in 1945) and E.A. Levinson.

It was inaugurated on 9 May 1960.

Inscriptions on the entrance gates (by M.A. Dudin):

To you, our selfless defenders

Thankful Leningrad will always cherish your memory

Descendants will owe their lives to you

The heroes' eternal glory grows in the glory of their descendants.

To the victims of the Great War's blockade

Your heroic deed is eternal in hearts of generations to come

To the proud heroes of unending glory

Keep your life by the example of the fallen heroes.

СDirectly after the entrance gates is the eternal flame, which was lighted from the eternal flame on the Field of Mars.

It burns, but the flame is nearly transparent.

In this photo you see only the central (smaller) part of the memorial.

To the left is a pool into which people usually throw coins. There is no water at present, because it's spring.
In the summer there are rosebushes here...

A few times a year solemn mourning ceremonies are held here:

On 8 September, the day of the beginning of the blockade
On 27 January, the day of the end of the blockade
On 9 May, Victory Day.

A hammer and sickle on the tombstones indicate that civilians are buried here.

Soldiers are buried under tombstones with stars on them.

Sad, solemn music is played in the cemetery (The Moonshine Sonata and the like).
Because of the outdoor acoustics, it sounds like the music is everywhere, but it's low.
A monument to the Motherland.

She has a garland made from oak sprigs in her hands.

Words by Olga Berggolts are carved into the middle here:
Here lie Leningraders,
Here are townsfolk, men, women, children.
By their sides are Red Army soldiers.
With their entire lives
They defended you, Leningrad,
The cradle of the Revolution.
We cannot enumerate all their noble names here,
So many are there under the eternal granite guard.
But know, when honouring these stones
No one is forgot and nothing is forgot.
Enemies, clad in armour and in iron, were bursting into the city,
But workers, schoolchildren, teachers and home guards stood up with the army
And like one, they all said
Death will sooner fear us, than we will fear death.
The hungry, harsh, dark winter of forty-one
And forty-two is not forgotten.
Neither the shells' ferocity
Nor the terror of bombardments in forty-three.
The entire city's earth was covered.
Not one of your lives, comrades, is forgot.
Under the uninterrupted fire from heaven, earth and water,
You did you everyday heroic deed
With honour, and simply.
And together with your Fatherland,
You all prevailed in victory.
So let the thankful people,
The Motherland and hero city Leningrad
Eternally lower their standards
On this sad and solemn meadow.
The sculptures (they are called haut-reliefs) were made by M.A. Vaiman, B.E. Kaplyansky, A.L. Malakhin, and M.M. Kharlamova.
The people in front of this memorial are Chinese or Japanese tourists.
The artists V.V. Isaeva and R.K. Taurit made the sculpture of the Motherland.
The atmosphere encourages reading and contemplation.
There is a small addition to the memorial in a birch grove: an ordinary cemetery.
The majority of graves on the Piskaryov cemetery are common graves.

During the blockade, the dead were carried here (this was wilderness then), and the Marines dug up the frozen earth, and buried them, only noting the time of burial.
The circumstances didn't permit civilised burials, and the most important thing was to avoid epidemics.

There weren't coffins either, as wood was valuable for heating of living space.

The total area of the memorial is 26 hectares.

The graves' borders are altogether 45 kilometres long.

For memorials and plaques, 800 wagons of granites were transported from Ukraine.

10,000 roses and about a thousand trees are planted here.

The memorial was put up between 1955 and 1960.
Some tombstones have names on them.

For example, on the two closest, it says:

Red Fleet seaman Pimenov M.S: (1917-1942)
Red Fleet seaman Kachalov F.V. (1920-1942)

On this stone, there's an engraving of an open book. Students, teachers and workers from the Polytechnic Institute who died in the Blockade are buried here.

"...The memory of fighters, commanders and political workers, who perished heroically in combat with the White Finns for the security of the Soviet Union's northeast borders and of Lenin's city, will be kept eternally in our hearts".

Not even this photo can give an idea about the scale of the burials...

Actually, today's 'elites' probably approach this from the angle of potential house construction.

Those who died on the cruiser Kirov are buried here.

102 seamen on the cruiser died on 4 April 1942 in battle with Fascist bombers.

In the next album, we will continue our excursion in the memorial.



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