Remembering WW1: Impressive cemeteries and monuments from around the world - History Key

Remembering WW1: Impressive cemeteries and monuments from around the world

Between 1914 and 1918, the most powerful and wealthy countries and empires who wanted to expand their territories plunged into a war which was the biggest war at that time: World War I. Empires have fallen and millions have died. The world was changed once again.

After the war, the countries sought to commemorate their fallen heroes. Today, in most of the countries involved in the war, there are memorials, monuments, and museums for them. From a garden full of roses to big cemeteries built near the battlefields – these places are at least a guarantee that the memory of the war and the sacrifices on those who have lost their lives will not be forgotten.

1. Shrine of Remembrance – Australia

Built in memory of war victims from the Australian state of Victoria, the Shrine of Remembrance is one of Australia’s largest memorials. The architecture of the building it is inspired by the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Turkey.

The altar was inaugurated in November 1934. The sanctuary contains the Stone of Memory on which are written the words: “Greater Love Hath No Man”. The stone is positioned in such a way that the sun rays shine on the world “Love” every year at 11:00 AM on November 11. More than 120 ceremonies take place at the altar each year.

The Shrine of Remembrance at night
The Shrine of Remembrance at night © CC BY-SA 2.0 / Image Source Wikipedia

2. In Flanders Fields Museum – Belgium

The Cloth Hall in the center of Ypres is the place where three of the most important battles of WWI took place. It has been turned into a museum that has important collections of artifacts and documents from the war. The interactive displays show the invasion of Ypres in 1914, the early months of the war with a zoom on the city and the way the war has affected the city. There is also a documentation center, which includes original extended maps, a large collection of photos and postcards, as well reports from the newspapers.

The Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium
The Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium © Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand / Wikipedia

3. Langemark German War Cemetery – Belgium

In the Langemark Cemetery there are more than 44,000 soldiers buried there, recovered between 1915 and 1930. Of the soldiers buried there, 24,917 are in a common pit. According to the German Student’s Memorial, about 3,000 students were killed in the Battle of Langemarck (1914), which was a part of the first battle of Ypres.

German mass grave near the entrance of the German military cemetery of Langemark © Wikipedia

4. Passchendaele Memorial – Belgium

The area is filled with memorials dedicated to certain battles or regiments such as the Canadian Memorial at Crest Farm, the 85th Battalion Memorial (Nova Scotia Highlanders) or memorial monuments with French soldiers. In Zonnebeke, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 contains an impressive collection of military artifacts.

Crest Farm Canadian Memorial in Passendale. Passendale, Zonnebeke, West Flanders, Belgium
Crest Farm Canadian Memorial in Passendale. Passendale, Zonnebeke, West Flanders, Belgium © LimoWreck – Wikipedia

5. Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History – Belgium

This museum holds impressive collections of the entire Belgian history, not just WWI, but includes a large collection of artifacts, documents from WWI. The exhibits include firearms, artillery pieces, uniforms and armored vehicles.

Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History © Marc Ryckaert – Wikipedia

6. Vladslo German War Cemetery – Belgium

This German cemetery is the resting place of 25,644 soldiers. Many of them were moved here in the 1950s. Although some funeral stones are dated during WWI, many were later engraved. On each granite plate are written the names of 20 people. In front of the tombstones stands a pair of statues (“Poor Parents”) made by the German sculptor Kathe Kollwitz. Son of Kollwitz died in the first battle of Ypres.

The Grieving Parents by Käthe Kollwitz
The Grieving Parents by Käthe Kollwitz © Wikipedia

7. Douaumont Ossuary – France

It is probably one of the most impressive memorials from the Western front. The construction of the memorial began in 1920 to provide a sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of bones that were scattered all over the battlefield. The ossuary contains the bones of 130,000 unidentified soldiers that were aranged just as they were found after the battle.

Verdun WWI cemetery, Douaumont ossuary on horizon
Verdun WWI cemetery, Douaumont ossuary on horizon © Paul Arps – Wikipedia

8. Army Museum, Les Invalides – France

It is one of the largest military museums in the world. The Army Museum from Paris contain more than 500,000 artifacts from each period of French military history. In the wing dedicated to WWI, there are extended collections of uniforms and weapons.

Army Museum, Les Invalides
Army Museum, Les Invalides © Alonso de Mendoza – Wikipedia

9. Notre Dame de Lorette – France

The basilica and the ossuary were built in 1921, in memory of the French soldiers who died in the Artois area during the battles in 1914, 1915 and 1917. The cemetery became a national necropolis. The ossuary also contains the remains of 23,000 unidentified soldiers who fought in the world wars as well as in the conflicts in Algeria and French Indochina.

The cemetery stretches on over 13 hectares and it is the resting place for 45,000 people, most of them whom were fighters in WWI. Behind the cemetery is a military museum.

Ablain St.-Nazaire French Military Cemetery
Ablain St.-Nazaire French Military Cemetery © Pir6mon – Wikipedia

10. Thiepval Memorial – France

This huge memorial of Thiepval was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Ouvert de Edward, Prince of Wales in 1932. On the memorial stone are engraved the names of 73,357 Allied soldiers who died in the Battle of Somme. Each year, on July 1, there is a commemorative ceremony there.

The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme © Chris Hartford – Wikipedia

11. India Gate – India

It was built between 1921 and 1931. The India Gate commemorates the Indian soldiers who died in WWI and in the Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919. The arch contains the names of more than 70,000 people and underneath it is the Flame of the Immortal soldier.

India Gate from Rajpath
India Gate from Rajpath © Benison – Wikipedia

12. War Memorial Gardens – Ireland

Built in the memory of 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in WWI, the gardens were made by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1930. The park stretches over 8 hectares and includes a rose garden and two rooms where the names of the soldiers are written.

Circular Sunken Rose Garden in side view, showing one of four granite Bookrooms
Circular Sunken Rose Garden in side view, showing one of four granite Bookrooms © Osioni – Wikipedia

13. British Military Cemetery – Israel

Established in December 1917 to serve the hospitals built in the battle area, the cemetery in Ramla later incresead with more tombs moved here from other cemeteries in Palestine and Israel. The Ramla Cemetery contains 3,300 tombs of the Commonwealth from WWI and nearly 1,200 tombs of WWII.

General view of Ramleh cemetery
General view of Ramleh Cemetery © Wikipedia

14. Military Sacrarium Redipuglia – Italy

Built in the time of Mussolini and opened in 1938, the military cemetery of Redipuglia is an altar in northen Italy. Here are the remains of more than 100,000 Italian soldiers killed during WWI. The 22 steps to the top of the altar contain the remains of 40,000 soldiers. The altar also contains the tombs of five generals and the Duke of Aosta.

The military cemetery of Redipuglia, resting place of approximately 100,000 Italian soldiers
The military cemetery of Redipuglia, resting place of approximately 100,000 Italian soldiers © Wikipedia

15. Auckland Museum – New Zeeland

The museum was built in 1850 and holds an extensive collection throughout New Zealand’s history, not just the military one. In 1929 was opened a special part in the memory of the dead soldiers of WWI. The wall of the sanctuary is dedicated to them and contains all the names of the dead soldiers.

Auckland Museum
Auckland Museum © nzmuseums.co.nz

16. Mausoleum of Marasesti – Romania

Built between 1923 and 1938, the Mausoleum of Marasesti is dedicated to the Romanians killed in WWI. The Battle of Marasesti (1917) was the last major battle on the Romanian front before the country was occupied. The mausoleum contains the remains of 6,000 Romanian soldiers.

Mausoleum of Marasesti
Mausoleum of Marasesti © Andrei Stroe – Wikipedia

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