Restoration work being carried out on sculptures

Moscow announces plans for restoration & construction of new First World War memorials

Posted on centenarynews.com on 30 March 2014
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Moscow City Government's Department of Cultural Heritage is developing plans to renovate existing First World War memorials and to construct new ones in preparation for the Centenary.

Ten sculptures in Moscow's Memorial Park Complex, at 12 Novopeschanaya Street, are set to be restored.

There are approximately 18,000 First World War Russian servicemen and women buried in the park, which was formerly a cemetery.

                                                     The main path in the memorial park

Experts are said to be monitoring the condition of the memorials and formulating a repair plan for May-June, in order for the structures to be restored by the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War - 28th July 2014.

In addition, there are plans to develop 22 additional sites "concerning World War One events and heroes". The sites are located at the Memorial Park Complex; the Church of All-Saints in Vsesvyatskoye (Memorial: Reconciliation Between the Peoples Who Fought in Two World and Civil Wars); the Nikolai Mirlikiysky Chapel; the Donskoi Monastery; and the Novodevichy Convent.

History 

The park is now the final resting place of some 18,000 Russian servicemen and women who died during the First World War.

After the outbreak of the conflict, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna led calls for the establishment of a cemetery in Moscow for the country's war dead.

After agreement was secured by Moscow City Council, the city's Fraternal Cemetery officially opened in 1915.

                                                        The Wall of Remembrance

In 1932, during the Soviet period, the Fraternal Cemetery was removed and converted into a park. Many of the cemetery's monuments and other structures, including a chapel, were destroyed or fell into disrepair.

In the late Soviet period and after the fall of the USSR, interest in the park's First World War origins grew. By the late 1990s, a series of memorials were erected in the park.

A major renovation took place in 2004 to mark the 90th anniversary of the First World War. The park was regenerated with a particular focus on commemorating the conflict. Amongst the new memorials constructed were ones dedicated to Russian nurses who had served in the war, Russian aviators and an Obelisk to the fallen of the First World War.

                                           Obelisk to the fallen of the First World War

Moscow Government Minister and Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage, Alexander Kibovsky, said that his department had taken the decision to "bring into order sculptures located on the territory of the Memorial Park Complex of WWI Heroes", despite the fact that they have not been granted the status of cultural heritage sites.

The renovation of the memorials should be completed by the 28th July 2014.

Source: City of Moscow

Images courtesy of the City of Moscow

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News