Isle of Tears - Memorial with Underground Bells
Hello everybody! Walking through the historical center of the city of Minsk, I saw a small well-groomed island. This place attracted my attention with a small but beautiful chapel with sculptures. The Island of Tears or the Island of Courage and Sorrow was created artificially and is located next to the Trinity Suburb, which I talked about earlier. Thanks to its clever location, the memorial is visible from afar, but the main details of the Isle of Tears can only be seen up close. You can get to the memorial from the side of the Old City on the bridge called Humpbacked. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by an icon of the Mother of God embedded in a large stone. There is a text on the stone in the Belarusian language: “This temple was erected for the sons who died in Afghanistan…”
The construction of the Isle of Tears lasted from 1988 to 1996. In the center of the composition of the memorial complex there is a chapel dedicated to the memory of the Belarusian wars who died in Afghanistan. The names of all 771 wars are inscribed on the walls of the chapel. Initially, a competition was held among Belarusian architects and sculptors for the best project of a chapel-temple. The design work of Yuri Pavlov won, bringing several unique details to the architecture of the memorial. The chapel-temple is located on sixteen piles, and the outlines are based on the appearance of the Temple of Euphrosyne of Polotsk from the 11th century. Outside, there are female sculptures representing mothers who are waiting for their sons from the Afghan war.
On each of the four sides are different sculptures.
Scenes from the Bible are depicted on the walls and ceiling of the chapel. Surprisingly, to preserve the drawings, the painting was carried out using the wax painting method. This implies the use of beeswax as the basis of paints, and the drawing is applied in a "hot" way. Inside the temple there is a central icon - "Mother Holy Belarus". On it, Belarus is represented in the image of a woman around whom her fallen sons bowed.
But the most interesting is hidden from human eyes. We are all used to seeing bells on top of shrine towers. But they are not here, at least from above. 40 metal strings are stretched from the dome to the floor of the chapel, which symbolize the connection between the earthly and other worlds. The number 40 symbolizes 40 days - the time when the souls of the dead are next to their relatives on earth. Below underground are five bells, which in windy weather, thanks to the strings, create melodies that excite the mind. In a good way.
Unfortunately the temple was closed and I could not see the underground bells.
Above the chapel-temple there is a crust inside which a ruby is inserted. At night, the cross is illuminated from below, the ruby glows with red light symbolizing the blood of the fallen Belarusians and Jesus Christ.
The inscription on the arch: "God, we are your children."
In addition, there is a sculpture of a small weeping angel on the island. As planned by the architects, it symbolizes grief for the dead Belarusians. Around are boulders with carved provinces of Afghanistan in which there were Belarusians. There is a tradition among young suitors to lay flowers at the monument of the weeping angel. It is believed that this will save the young husband from the war. It is also interesting that the brides rub the penis of the sculpture - this is done so that a boy is born in the family.
I never expected to see such an interesting memorial in the center of Minsk. This is an interesting find that struck me with its architectural solutions and symbolism. The Island of Tears is a monument dedicated to Belarusians who gave their lives for their homeland.
Camera: Nikon D5200
Location: Minsk, Belarus
Thanks to everyone who reads and supports. Best regards from @danny.green.