There are some places in Slovakia which we visited regularly during school. This Military and historical Museum is one of them. It teaches us about the 2 world wars with focus on the Battle of the Dukla Pass which was one of the bloodiest battles in our country during the World War II.
Actually, such places were part of school trips when I was at school, but it may not be the case today. Many people come to this place as part of a pilgrimage to honour their family members who were killed here during the Battle of the Dukla Pass and are buried somewhere in the area.
It is part of the large exposition which includes open-air museum where you can see military weapons, tanks, bunkers, planes and other equipment and machinery used during the war. There are also multiple memorials and mass graves as well. We visited The Open-air Military Museum which is on the Road of Heroes going to the most important memorial on Dukla.
The museum park is dominated by The Memorial of the Soviet Army. This memorial is built in the place of 4 mass graves with 9000 Soviet soldiers. There is a long pathway that led us to the memorial. The park is nicely groomed and it doesn't feel like such horrific events happened there less than a century ago.
The memorial was built in 1954 and it's pillar is 37 m tall. It is one of our National Cultural Monuments.
The memorial is decorated mainly with soldier statues. I was looking at their facial expressions for some time trying to figure out what they show. I saw bravery, anger and desperation. There are many similar memorials across countries of former Soviet Union. Some of them were destroyed, but some of them are kept to remind us of our history.
I have noticed that there were only a couple of female figures depicted in all of the statues.
Mother and father are getting their son ready for the war...
I think that many of them are open to interpretation and here I see younger people looking into their brighter future. As we know today, their future before 1989 wasn't that bright at all.
At some point I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. I must admit that I believe that we should remember such events as they happened only a couple of generations ago, but I didn't enjoy standing among so much violence (even when it was in stone) that much.
The main pillar of the memorial is more positive and shows the end of the war...
You can see people celebrating the victory...
And women welcoming men back home as heroes...
The main pillar was probably my favourite part of the memorial.
Right next to the memorial is the military machinery which is part of the Park of combat equipment. It contains 14 exhibits of military heavy combat equipment, which were used during the Carpathian-Duklian operation, as well as within the Czechoslovak army in the post-war period.
My husband was so excited to walk around and recognize items that I had no idea about.
The park is located next to the residential buildings. I'm not sure if I would enjoy looking at this every day.
It was such a hot day with no wind and even though the exposition is outside there was a strong metallic smell everywhere...
Here we have one of the most valued item of the exposition which is the German armoured personnel carrier D-7. Don't get too excited though. I only know the name of a couple of them 🙂
It's a public place and I was surprised to see how clean it was. There were plenty of locals walking their dogs around or jogging (who goes jogging when it's 35 degrees Celsius outside?). They are so used to the machinery being there that it seemed like they didn't even see it anymore.
My favourite part was the Soviet transport aircraft Lisunov Li-2 as I loved standing under its wing to get some relief from the sun 🙂 My husband was running around like a child and taking tons of pictures, so I needed some place to hide.
This is the Soviet guard mortar M-13 which contains some ammunition as well.
And last but not least is the biggest contrast of all - a tank standing in front of a church...
This post is very different to my usual posts, but as I mentioned, I believe that we should not forget our past especially when we live in a peaceful part of the world today.
Until next time...