Lists! > Ten Fabulous War Memorials
10 Fabulous War Memorials
Europe and Asia have many memorials in remembrance of all the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have died in the line of duty. It is the honor of serving their country that is remembered more than victory or defeat. Most celebrate the fallen among a home town, others celebrate battles, or are merely symbolic. But all are meaningful.
This month, I provide a list of war memorials that struck a special chord with me, some large and spectacular, others humble and sobering. I hope you enjoy reading this list, and I hope you can take the time this Memorial Day to honor those who have served for their country.
Because there are so many fabulous Memorials in the world, a top ten list just couldn't hold it all -- click here for a photo gallery of honorable mentions.
The entire town of Rocroi is a war monument in of itself. This small town, crammed within its old bastions, is filled with history. The prominent WWI monument, shown in this photo, sits outside the main gate and its flag-lined bridge.
The cities of Mediterranean France all have very large, artistic memorials -- it seemed almost like a contest of sorts to produce the best one. Of those, I must give the node to Nice for its massive bullet-shaped memorial built into the cliffs over Nice's old harbor. Made of mostly white marble, this bright memorial can be seen from far across the harbor.
#8. The Media Building (from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This is a truly unusual war memorial. After the Bosnian Conflict, the citizens of Sarajevo elected to let stand the partially demolished Media Building as a reminder of the war's horrors. Despite the heavy damage, the Media Building remained in use during the latter stages of the conflict. Fencing has been erected to protect the public from the obvious danger of falling rubble.
#7. Loewendenkmal (from Lucerne, Switzerland)
This memorial is quite unique -- a wounded lion lays dying in the outline of a boar. The Loewendenkmal, or Lion's Memorial, commemorates the Swiss mercenaries killed during an 18th Century battle. It was carved into a sheer cliff in the north part of downtown Lucerne near the popular Gleichtergarten (glacier park), so it draws a lot of curious eyes.
This is the best battle scene re-enactment that I can recall. This commemorates a WWII scene when thousands of Polish militia emerged from hiding and tried to push out the Nazis in 1944, but having expected Soviet support (that never came) the uprising was brutally suppressed. This memorial covers a half-city block, with the massive teal-towers in the background naming the militias involved. Very impressive.
#5. Niederdenkmal (from Ruedesheim, Germany)
The Niederdenkmal is a fabulous war memorial that commemorates the capture of the Rheinland from French hands in 1871. It sits alone, high above the Rhein River. But the attraction is not just the beauty of the memorial itself, it's getting there. Accessible from the tourist haven of Ruedesheim by a two-man ski-lift, or seilbahn, the ride will take you over some beautiful Rhein vineyards.
This is among the world's most massive war memorials that also has a history of German nationalism and pride. Commemorating the 1813 defeat of Napoleon by the Prussians and allies, this memorial was also the site of one of Hitler's early Nazi rallies. The rotunda interior sports massive sculptures of barbarian warriors with their heads bowed toward a memorial in the center.
Also, its a great observation deck.
#3. Slavin Hill (Bratislava, Slovakia)
Not the prettiest war memorial around, but definitely the most imposing.
This extraordinary monument sits high on the hill above the Slovak capital amidst a massive Russian cemetary with over 3,000 Russian war dead. With many of the Soviet memorials having been defaced since the end of the Cold War, it is great to see such a memorial left undamaged.
"Iron Mike" is the best American war memorial I have ever visited, my opinion. It captures the heart of the American soldier -- a Joe-Everybody doing his job for God and country in a far away land.
#1. Danish Memorial (from Copenhagen, Denmark)
The Danish earn top honors for the second month in a row!
And it is well earned. Simple. Honorable. Emotional. I was awestruck by this memorial, located on the grounds of the Citadella in an open patch of green grass. For me, it perfectly captured the feelings of sorrow and respect for the honored deceased.
Click here to look at the honorable mentions.
(c) 2003 Tom Galvin